Republicans already weighing how to undermine FCC’s net neutrality vote

The atonement of an alt-right troll
Baked Alaska says he's sorry about the whole white nationalism thing, and he's trying to help.

See all Editor's Picks

Net neutrality logo in binary.

If you can’t beat ’em, sanction ’em.

The FCC may have approved Title II net neutrality rules, but Congressional Republicans are not giving up the fight.

On Thursday, mere hours after the 3-2 FCC vote, a group of House Republicans sent a letter to Chairman Tom Wheeler promising a legislative response to the new rules.

“We will not stand by idly as the White House, using the FCC, attempts to advance rules that imperil the future of the Internet,” the letter, organized by House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), reads.

The letter advises Wheeler that Republicans are planning a resolution canceling the net neutrality rule and preventing the FCC from using Title II authority again “unless Congress explicitly instructs the FCC to take such action.”

Rep. Goodlatte’s letter also announced a March 17 Judiciary Committee hearing “that will allow for a public debate regarding the impact of the FCC’s rules on the future of competition on the Internet.” The announcement of the House hearing follows news of a similar Senate Commerce Committee oversight hearing on March 18, at which all five FCC commissioners have been invited to testify. The House Technology Subcommittee is also holding a hearing on March 4 to review the FCC’s budget.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee who will lead the March 18 oversight hearing, also suggested that Congress might defund the FCC if the agency refused to comply with its demands.

“I do think that we could, by various riders on appropriations bills, attempt to send that message,” Thune said. “So we’ll see—I’m not ruling anything out.”

Republicans are also working on net neutrality legislation of their own, although Internet freedom advocates worry that its provisions are not strong enough to adequately fight ISP malfeasance like fast lanes and paid prioritization.

H/T The Hill | Illustration by Fernando Alfonso III

Eric Geller

Eric Geller

Eric Geller is a politics reporter who focuses on cybersecurity, surveillance, encryption, and privacy. A former staff writer at the Daily Dot, Geller joined Politico in June 2016, where he's focused on policymaking at the White House, the Justice Department, the State Department, and the Commerce Department.