FCC’s ‘Net Neutrality’ Repeal Opens Door for Telecoms to Raise Prices, Tier Services and Restrict Content
Net neutrality. Democrats called for a bill to reestablish net neutrality after the Federal Communications Commission’s 3-2 vote, and several Democratic state attorneys general said they plan to sue to stop the change. Several public interest groups including Public Knowledge and the National Hispanic Media Coalition also promised to file suit.
Consumers won’t see any of the potential changes right away because it will take weeks for the repeal to go into effect.
Mignon Clyburn, one of the Democratic commissioners, accused the three Republican commissioners of defying the wishes of millions of Americans by ceding their oversight authority. “I dissent because I am among the millions outraged,” Clyburn said. “Outraged, because the FCC pulls its own teeth, abdicating responsibility to protect the nation’s broadband consumers.”
Major telecom companies like AT&T and Comcast and two of the industry’s major trade groups have promised consumers their online experiences would not change. Consumer groups, start-ups and small businesses said there have already been examples of net neutrality violations by companies, such as when AT&T blocked FaceTime on iPhones using its network.
Tax mess. Several Republican senators expressed last-minute doubts about the $1.4 trillion tax cut that would mostly benefit the richest in our country.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said he would vote against the bill if the final measure doesn’t expand child tax credits for low-income households beyond what is currently envisioned. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) has also wanted a more generous child tax credit and is undecided on the tax bill in its current form. Senate Republicans passed their tax bill 51-49 earlier this month.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) was the lone GOP no vote. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) are waiting to read the final bill. Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) have health issues and missed votes this week. Lawmakers on the conference committee plan to unveil the bill today.
Unprofessional. Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), the congressman whose male communications director threw up daily under the stress of working for him, won’t seek re-election. The House Ethics Committee is investigating Farenthold over allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation involving a former female staff member.
Farenthold said he was a political novice when he took office in 2011. “I had no idea how to run a congressional office, and as a result, I allowed a workplace culture to take root in my office that was too permissive and decidedly unprofessional,” Farenthold said. The congressional Office of Compliance paid $84,000 from a public fund on behalf of Farenthold for a sexual harassment claim. In 2014, his former communications director, Lauren Greene, filed a lawsuit accusing him of creating a hostile work environment, gender discrimination and retaliation.
Michael Rekola, who was Farenthold’s communications director in 2015, told CNN that Farenthold’s bullying led him to seek medical treatment and psychological counseling and at one point caused him to vomit daily. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) resigned last week after allegations of sexual harassment, and Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) plans to step down.