Chairman Stevens Holds Strong

I am heartened that Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens’ newest draft of the communications bill did not change on Net Neutrality. That means the Chairman’s draft bill has very good language on net neutrality, i.e. that the FCC should study it to see if there are any real problems and report back to the Senate.

This current Senate language is even better than the acceptable House language passed last week. My real preference would be for no legislative reference to NN at all, since it is potentially the proverbial “camel’s nose under the tent.”

The fact that Chairman Stevens did not change his NN language despite his close friend, Vice Chairman Inouye’s strong views on NN, tells us two things:

  • First, the Snowe-Dorgan NN bill (which is very similar to the Markey bill defeated in the House 269-152), is unlikely to get any more Republican support in the Commerce Committee or in the Senate at large.
  • Second, NN faces a cliff climb in the Senate. Many forget that to stay alive in Congress, NN has to win a majority vote in the Senate. That’s not going to happen. The votes are nowhere near there as Chairman Steven showed us in how he has played his negotiating hand in the Senate.

House Republicans exposed NN for what it is – a Big Government vision for a “Socialized-Internet.”