Congress Zeroes in on FCC's Net Neutrality Order

Following up on my Congressional testimony last week, I’ve written two articles on how the House and Senate are moving forward with plans to undo the FCC’s December 23,2010 “Open Internet” order, aka net neutrality.    For Forbes, I write about the experience of being a witness before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet, and provide some background on how the FCC found itself backed into a corner that led to the unpopular (on both sides) new rules.  See “Deep in the Net Neutrality Trenches.”

On CNET this morning, I review in detail the steps taken last week by Congress.  These include two hearings, one featuring all five FCC Commissioners.  After the hearings, the House approved an amendment to the on-going budget negotiations that would deny the agency any funding to implement or enforce its rules.  Later, both the House and Senate issued a Joint Resolution of Disapproval, which, if passed, would nullify the rulemaking and deny the FCC future authority to try again.

The conventional wisdom suggests that these are futile gestures, as President Obama would veto either measure (as well as other pending legislation on the subject).  But not necessarily.  Even before the new Congress came in, the President demonstrated a willingness to negotiate with Republicans (e.g., extending the Bush tax cuts).  Net neutrality is certainly a priority for the White House, but it may not be as high as other priorities.