Waxman Scraps Net Neutrality Bill, Calls for FCC Action

Lora Bentley

A day after the Open Internet Coalition withdrew its support for net neutrality legislation sponsored by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., Waxman announced that he is scrapping the bill. Not that the OIC's rejection was the last straw, of course. According to The Washington Post, the bill didn't have the support it needed from Republicans.


In a statement, Waxman said:

With great regret, I must report that ranking member Barton has informed me that support for this legislation will not be forthcoming at this time... If our efforts to find bipartisan consensus fail, the FCC should move forward under Title II. The bottom line is that we must protect the open Internet. If Congress can't act, the FCC must.


Not surprisingly, Public Knowledge president Gigi Sohn agreed with Waxman's assessment and called on the agency to "carry out one of the fundamental promises of the Obama Administration." But Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Communications subcommittee, has a different view.


Of the call for the FCC to reclassify broadband services under Title II of the Communications Act, Barton said:

With Chairman Waxman's effort comes a tacit admission that the FCC is going down the wrong path, a path that will stifle investment and create regulatory overhang in one of the most dynamic sectors of our economy.


And if Barton's reaction is an accurate bellwether for Republicans generally, waiting until after November's mid-term elections to take action may make it even more difficult to pass net neutrality legislation.

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