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Published On: Thu, Jun 18th, 2015

Obama administration calls on Congress leave net neutrality out of budget battle

The White House told Republicans in Congress that the nation’s budget should not be used to enact “unrelated ideological provisions,” including a proposal to prevent the Federal Communications Commission from enforcing its net neutrality rules.

A letter to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) from Shaun Donovan, director of President Obama’s Office of Management and Budget, detailed several provisions that the White House objects to, including the net neutrality prohibition.

The Republican-controlled Appropriations Committee released the budget proposal last week.

The 2016 budget proposal “contains provisions aimed at delaying or preventing implementation of the FCC’s net neutrality order, which creates a level playing field for innovation and provides important consumer protections on broadband service, and prohibits certain direct or indirect regulations that could independently prevent the order from being implemented,” Donovan wrote to Rogers.

“The Administration believes that the Congress should consider appropriations bills free of unrelated ideological provisions. The inclusion of these provisions threatens to undermine an orderly appropriations process.”

The Republican proposal would prevent the FCC from enforcing the net neutrality regulations until courts rule on lawsuits filed by broadband providers that want the net neutrality order overturned.

 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The budget provision is just one of numerous attempts that Republicans in Congress have made to limit or overturn the FCC’s net neutrality rules.

The White House letter also objected to “the inadequate overall funding levels” in the Republican budget proposal.

“The bill cuts funding for the FCC by $98 million, or 24 percent, compared with the President’s Budget,” the letter said. “Because the FCC is funded by regulatory fees and auction proceeds, its funding level has no impact on the deficit, nor does it impact the amount of funding available for other agencies. Thus, these cuts unnecessarily force the FCC to scale back important work on public safety, wireless spectrum, and universal service, while increasing overall costs for taxpayers.”

The White House also said inadequate funding for the IRS could prevent the tax collection agency from implementing technology upgrades that would protect taxpayer information.

The Obama administration “strongly opposes sections of the bill that limit IRS funding and transfers to carry out implementation of the Affordable Care Act, through which millions of individuals have signed up for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplaces, and to provisions that unnecessarily encumber IRS operations with reporting requirements.”

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  1. [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “trash”. Reason: Failed GASP Bot Filter Test (checkbox) *]
    […] In the mid 2000s, the net neutrality debate really started to heat up, as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) began to see the implications of various rules and regulations already in place. As a result, the issue became a significant topic of the 2008 presidential election. […]

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