House Passes Amendments Targeting FCC Net Neutrality, 'Diversity Czar'
February 18, 2011 at 4:10 AM (PT)
Amendments to the Continuing Resolution appropriations bill that would defund the FCC's Net Neutrality rules and would defund several federal positions including the post of FCC Chief Diversity Officer were passed late THURSDAY by Congress.
The amendment defunding the Net Neutrality enforcement, introduced by Reps. GREG WALDEN (R-OR) and CLIFF STEARNS (R-FL), passed 244-181. It would restrict the Commission from using its funding for implementation of the FCC's recently-enacted two-tier.broadband neutrality rules.
The vote was largely split among party lines, however, 10 Democrats voted in favor of the amendment, and four Republicans voted against it.
The Internet "does not need to be regulated by an unelected group of federal bureaucrats," Rep. CLIFF STEARNS, a Florida Republican, said in a statement. "Net regulation will discourage investment and innovation precisely when we need it most, especially in light of our push to increase broadband deployment. The FCC should not stand in the way of Internet innovation and expansion."
STEARNS, who joined with Rep. GREG WALDEN of OREGON to introduce the amendment, told PC MAGAZINE http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2380571,00.asp that any Internet regulations should be approved by Congress "only after holding deliberative hearings and with a vote by elected officials."
In DECEMBER (NET NEWS 12/21/2010), THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION -- by a vote of 3-2 -- passed the Net Neutrality rules pressed for by Chairman JULIUS GENACHOWSKI. The votes were:
Chairman GENACHOWSKI: In Favor
Commissioner CLYBURN: In Favor
Commissioner COPPS: In Favor
Commissioner MCDOWELL: Against
Commissioner BAKER: Against
Czar Position Eliminated
The amendment eliminating specific "czar" positions, introduced by Rep. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA) and passed 249-179, was aimed in part at MARK LLOYD, whose appointment as Chief Diversity Officer and Associate General Counsel at the FCC was highly controversial and opposed by conservatives. The amendment would also cut the salaries of other positions targeted by House conservatives, including "czars" of climate change, health care, and other issues, including the Special Envoy to close the detention center at GUANTANAMO BAY.
The measures are among 583 amendments to the Continuing Resolution.