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Republicans Move To Block FCC Net Cop Initiative

Some Republican lawmakers moved swiftly Monday to try and block FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's proposal that the FCC adopt new network neutrality rules.

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) Monday introduced an amendment to an appropriations bill that would prohibit the FCC from spending any funds "to develop and implement new regulatory mandates."

The bill was co-sponsored by Senators John Ensign (R-Nev.), Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), David Vitter (R-La.), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and John Thune (R-S.D.).

“I am deeply concerned by the direction the FCC appears to be heading,” said Hutchison in a statement. “Even during a severe downturn, America has experienced robust investment and innovation in network performance and online content and applications. For that innovation to continue, we must tread lightly when it comes to new regulations. Where there have been a handful of questionable actions in the past on the part of a few companies, the Commission and the marketplace have responded swiftly."

By contrast, she said, the FCC appeared to be engaging in "regulatory intervention into a vibrant marketplace."

Public Knowledge President Gigi Sohn, said she was disappointed by Hutchison

“We hope the full Senate will oppose this measure," said Public Knowledge President Gigi Sohn, who has been a big backer of network neutrality. "FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, with the public backing of President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, outlined a moderate, reasonable platform for ensuring that the Internet operates as the telecommunications network operated for decades – under the principle that the companies which provide the connections shouldn’t be able to play favorites with the content."

“The FCC has pledged a full, public factual inquiry. The Senate should let that process move ahead."