As promised, House Republicans introduced
an amendment Thursday on the House floor that would block funding for
implementing the FCC's new network neutrality rules.
The amendment, which had yet to be voted at press time, was
among hundreds being offered to the continuing resolution, which is the bill
that keeps government funding flowing through September as a stop-gap measure
given the failure to pass a long-term appropriations bill.
Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), who introduced the amendment
Thursday, said in his opening statement that the amendment was itself a stop-gap
measure until a more permanent blocking maneuver could be implemented.
"I am bringing up this funds limitation today to
prevent the FCC from spending funds to implement its network neutrality rules
regulating the Internet," he said. "It is a stop-gap measure while we
work toward passing a more permanent solution, our resolution of disapproval,
H.J. Res. 37, which would nullify the rules themselves. I encourage everyone
who cares about the Internet to cosponsor that resolution."
Republicans, who defended the amendment during about half an
hour of floor debate, according to a Walden staffer, included Rep. Lee Terry
(Neb.), Fred Upton (Mich.), Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.) and Steve Scalise
(La.). Democrats rising in opposition included Henry Waxman (Calif.), Ed
Markey (Mass.) and Anna Eshoo (Calif.).
All were essentially echoing the divide over the issue in
evidence at an FCC oversight hearing on the rules Wednesday.
A Walden staffer estimated a vote on the amendment could
come sometime this evening (Feb. 17).
Rep. Markey said during floor debate
that the Republicans were trying to give the 'net over to "broadband
barons." He said that those who voted for it "will see an inevitable
decline in innovation, in investment, in the private sector, in the new
products, the new technology, the new application, these new devices which are
basically invented by hundreds and thousands of smaller companies in our
country. That's the choice you have. Vote no on this amendment that shuts down