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Net Neutrality Moves To Congress

Memo Pad Politics

Net Neutrality Moves To Congress

Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell meet in the U.S. Capitol January 7, 2015. (Official Photo by Caleb Smith; Speaker Boehner/Flickr)

On February 26, Federal Communications Commissioner Tom Wheeler led the Democratic majority on the commission to a 3-2 net neutrality ruling that designated the internet a public utility and prohibits big internet service providers from establishing pay-to-play fast lanes for preferred content providers while slowing content for everyone else.

By classifying the internet as a public utility under Title II of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, the Democratic majority insulated the FCC against the sort of lawsuits that blocked the commission’s earlier efforts.

The fight over net neutrality now moves to the Congress, where Republican Speaker John Boehner has promised legislation that would counter the FCC ruling. The big internet service providers that oppose net neutrality have spent large sums of money lobbying Congress, now their last best hope to block net neutrality.

Between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2014, cable giants Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon, and AT&T have together spent more than $374 million in a lobbying campaign to block net neutrality legislation or rule making.

Net Neutrality Lobbying Chart

Net neutrality legislation will move through the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee, which held a hearing on the topic the day before the FCC ruled.

Republicans in Congress, in fact, were using House committee hearings to warn the FCC of the fight that would ensue if the commission were to act on net neutrality.

Republican congressmen Fred Upton (MI) and Greg Walden (OR) chair the two House committees that oversee the FCC. A month before the commission’s February 26 ruling, they held a joint committee hearing designated: Protecting the Internet and Consumers through Congressional Action.

The four big internet service providers contributed $99,500 to Upton and $56,800 to Walden during the 2014 election cycle. House Speaker Boehner has received $75,450 in money from big cable companies.

By early March, a House Republican had delivered on Boehner’s promise of legislation aimed at the FCC. Tennessee Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn filed the first anti-net-neutrality bill two weeks after the commission’s decision. Her Internet Freedom Act would overturn the net neutrality rules and limit FCC regulation of the internet. She received $80,000 in cable company money last electoral cycle.

Lou Dubose is the editor of The Washington Spectator.

Source: MapLight, a nonpartisan research organization that reveals money’s influence on politics.

Originally posted at The Washington Spectator.

Photo: Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell meet in the U.S. Capitol on January 7, 2015. (Official Photo by Caleb Smith; Speaker Boehner/Flickr)




  1. Brett Glass March 26, 2015

    The article above is extremely biased in that it show the lobbying expenditures of telephone and cable companies but fails to show the lobbying and “astroturfing” expenditures of Google and the Ford Foundation (one of its largest institutional stockholders), each of which paid much more than any Internet service providers to lobby in favor of the harmful, onerous, innovation-killing regulations. It also fails to show Google’s contributions to both of Obama’s campaigns, including in-kind contributions of voter-targeting software and labor.

    The fact is that the regulations were bought and paid for by Google and its institutional stockholders. If the illegal rules are not overturned by the courts, they will raise the price of broadband service, slow Internet speeds, reduce consumers’ choice of broadband providers, deter deployment to unserved and underserved areas, and prevent ISPs from fighting harmful nuisances such as spam and malware. And now you know — as Paul Harvey would say — the REST of the story.

    1. Daniel Jones March 26, 2015

      ..with the caveats that Net Neutrality doesn’t limit, harm, or kill innovation. It merely prevents internet slow-laning.

    2. Daniel Jones March 26, 2015

      Rules are not illegal.

    3. Daniel Jones March 26, 2015

      Allow me to correct your flawed grammar: “If the rules are overturned by the Congress, the Big Providers will continue gaming the price of braodband service, slow Internet speeds, stymie customers seeking more choices of providers, ignore unserved or underserves areas, and double-dip on anti-malware and anti-spam functionality.”
      The entire issue is before the Congress, not the courts, so I know for a fact you’re just issuing boilerplate.

    4. highpckts March 27, 2015

      So, again, you are trying to blame Obama??? Amazing since it is Congress that wants a fight!

      1. hicusdicus March 29, 2015

        Everything that goes wrong is Obama’s fault.

  2. Sand_Cat March 26, 2015

    Net Neutrality in the hands of these corrupt dirtbags?

  3. bobnstuff March 27, 2015

    We have the best government money can buy. The internet providers don’t want to innovate, the want the easy money. If the big boys want faster delivery of content they can come up with the technology to make it happen. This is just one more case
    of one group being more equal then another.

  4. highpckts March 27, 2015

    Well that just proves that Boehner is being bought off! Any dunce with one iota of sense knows that new neutrality is what we already have and the big media companies want to make more money from restrictions! I fear for the intelligence of our children when they see this playing out right in front of them, Mature, educated adults totally denying a proven fact! I also am damned mad that they think we all just fell off the turnip truck and don’t know what the Hell they are doing!

    1. hicusdicus March 29, 2015

      I fear for the intelligence of our children? Your genetics is what caused your children to be dumb.I also don’t like turnips so I would never get on a turnip truck. Mature educated adults, where? Not here on NM. Your raving again. Now who is doing what?

  5. 14hei March 28, 2015

    We must not let less then a handful of corporations control the speech and speed of communications over the internet. Small communication companies and local governments must be able to provide internet service for their local citizens and businesses. These giant telecommunication corporations want to control and regulate all communications over the internet. If we users of the internet do not speak out loudly about this take over of our speech, we will lose that freedom of speech. Please act now to support the net neutrality rules put out by the FCC.


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