As expected, the Senate Wednesday officially voted not to
approve the Republican-backed continuing resolution appropriations bill that
would defund the FCC's net neutrality rules and its chief diversity officer, as
well as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
The House had approved the bill before the President's Day
break last month, which would have funded the government through September but
with 60 billion or so in Republican-backed budget cuts. When it was clear that
was not going to get approved before the March 4 expiration of the last
continuing resolution, a two-week stopgap CR was passed with a handful of
cuts--including to some broadband stimulus funding through the Department of
Agriculture--but none of the above cuts.
Congress must still agree on a new CR, either short-term
again of the longer-term version, by March 18, when the current CR runs out.
Then, of course, it must eventually pass an appropriations
bill, which it has been trying to do since last year.
Pointing to the network neutrality-blocking amendment among
others, the ACLU said of the vote: "The Senate has done the right thing by
blocking passage of this breathtaking assault on Americans' civil liberties.
Moving forward, as congressional leaders determine next steps on
federal funding in the days ahead, it is crucial that they protect Americans'
rights and keep the House's troubling provisions out of the final bill."