House Republicans Want To Kill Net Neutrality As Part Of Their Debt Ceiling Bill

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Not sure what to make of this episode, but it matters and so here we are: A draft of provisions that Republican leaders in the House are attempting to demand in return for allowing the debt ceiling to be raised includes the elimination of net neutrality.

The language of the legislative outline that the National Review obtained calls for the “blocking” of net neutrality.

Net neutrality, if you didn’t know, is the set of rules forcing ISPs treat traffic on their networks equally, not speeding or slowing any one piece of content more than any other. This matters as many companies that provide Internet access are also part of larger conglomerates that produce media. Those companies have an inherent incentive to speed their content and slow that of their rivals.

Also, net neutrality protects companies that provide content, such as Netflix, from being unfairly charged by ISPs for the dissemination of their wares. There is much legal wrangling over this issue in courts at the moment, mostly centered around a long-running lawsuit between Verizon and the government.

I’ll be plain: You want net neutrality if you want the Internet to run much as it has these past few decades.

Tying net neutrality to the debt ceiling, however, is bonkers. The two have no relation. Instead, it appears that House Republicans are tacking porkish requests to their coming compromise to raise the debt ceiling to appease their own members, and thus not abrogate the Hastert Rule while also not causing a Federal default.

The most asinine part of this episode is that we are discussing fiscal politics in relation to a technology regulatory issue. Josh Barro of Business Insider was blunt in his assessment of the inclusion, stating that Republicans have “finally admitted that the fight over the debt ceiling as nothing to do with debt.”

In some bizarro scenario we could, at least in some wild-eyed House member’s visions of Things That We Shouldn’t Do, ax one of the most important pieces of technology regulation in place, simply to buy off part of one party in the lower chamber of Congress so that we can pay our national bills.

This is precisely why you like technology more than politics.

Top Image Credit: ttarasiuk