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Senator says the FCC ‘discouraged’ Democrats from working with Republicans on net neutrality

In this June 20, 2014 file photo, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., speaks at the South Dakota Republican Convention in Rapid City, S.D.  (AP Photo/Toby Brusseau, File)

In this June 20, 2014 file photo, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., speaks at the South Dakota Republican Convention in Rapid City, S.D. (AP Photo/Toby Brusseau, File)

According to Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the FCC is stirring the partisan pot, and trying to kill the chance of bipartisan net neutrality legislation.

Thune claims that the FCC has “discouraged” Democrats from cooperating with Republicans. Thune has his own net neutrality legislation, which he says accomplishes the key goals of the net neutrality movement without ceding the same authority to the FCC as their proposal to regulate the internet under Title II of the Communications Act.

Thune has declined to name names, but told TheBlaze, “An FCC source confirmed to the [Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation] that the agency had engaged Democrat members of Congress on the…draft legislation.”

“I still think that they have approached this in a very political way and if you look at the statements that are being made by the Republican members of the commission, this is going to be a very partisan vote and issue where it could be very bipartisan if they would have allowed a legislative process to go forward and us to work with Democrats on Capitol Hill,” Thune said.

Not all net neutrality advocates approve of Title II regulation, and Thune appears to be appealing to those who would rather accomplish their goals in a more targeted way.

Thune defended his legislation to TheBlaze, saying that, as opposed to the FCC’s proposal, “The difference is clear, unambiguous…that we can put in statute and give direction to the FCC or give the FCC unbridled authority under the 1934 law to do whatever they want to do.”

The senator says he would ban blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization, with an exception for “specialized services.” His bill would prevent rate regulation, and include no new taxes or fees.

One study found that Title II reclassification could saddle consumers with $17 billion in new user fees.


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