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House Net Neutrality Bill a No-Go

Photo: Stephen Orsillo
Photo: Stephen Orsillo

Chairman of the House Commerce Committee Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) announced Wednesday he will not push a net neutrality bill, which had leaked earlier this week, because it failed to garner enough Republican support.

“This legislative initiative was predicated on going forward only if we had full bipartisan support in our committee,” Waxman said. “We included the Republican staff in our deliberations and made clear that we were prepared to introduce our compromise legislation if we received the backing” of Republican ranking members Joe Barton (R-Texas ) and Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.)

“I have consulted with Republican leadership and members of the Energy and Commerce Committee,” Barton said, “and there is a widespread view that there is not sufficient time to ensure that Chairman Waxman’s proposal will keep the Internet open without chilling innovation and job creation.”

Barton added that the Federal Communications Commission should not have the authority to regulate the Internet, and Waxman’s bill amounted to a “halfway measure two days before the end of Congress.” Congress will recess next week for the midterm elections.

Waxman’s proposed bill was seen as somewhat of a compromise, giving FCC only limited authority to set regulations.

But it apparently wasn’t enough to woo enough Republican support.

One of the issues in the bill dealt with whether FCC could reclassify broadband access under a section of FCC code known as Title II, which would have given the FCC unilateral authority to set regulations.

The Waxman bill would have limited this approach.

However, in lieu of legislation, Waxman said he supports reclassification by FCC.

“The bottom line is that we must protect the open Internet,” he said, according to Ars Technica. “If Congress can’t act, the FCC must.”

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