By Amy Kroin, Free Press
Here’s a pitch for a sequel to Groundhog Day: Set it in Congress, and replace Phil — the jaded weatherman played by Bill Murray — with House Republicans trying to undermine Net Neutrality day after day after day.
This isn’t a hypothetical scenario: Ever since the FCC adopted strong open internet protections in February 2015, Comcast-funded members of Congress have tried to overturn the rules. And the attacks are still coming — even in the wake of a federal appeals court decision that rejected an industry challenge and ruled in favor of the FCC.
This time members of Congress aren’t just going after Net Neutrality: They’re targeting three other key FCC reforms. And they’re doing it via riders they’ve slipped into a funding package — a tactic this crew uses when it knows it may not have the votes to pass these measures as standalone bills.
Here’s what’s at play:
1. An attack on the FCC’s Net Neutrality rules.
2. A move to delay the FCC’s set-top box proceeding — an effort to lower your monthly cable costs and expand the programming choices you have on your devices.
3. A giveaway allowing giant media conglomerates to run multiple TV stations in a given city, which would shut down independent broadcasters and lead to major job losses.
4. An attempt to stop the FCC from protecting the privacy of broadband users.
This appropriations bill previously contained attacks on Lifeline, which serves low-income Americans and subsidizes phone and broadband service. House leadership caved on the Lifeline rider thanks to significant public pressure — and after losing a separate bid to gut the program.
Let’s keep the momentum going: Pick up the phone and urge your representative to remove the rest of these poison-pill riders.