The intersection of fiscal politics, national crisis, and technology regulation is a silly place, as there should be no overlapping space between the three issues. And yet.
Good news: We’re not ending net neutrality. The bad news, depending on your politics, is that we’re likely going to shut down the United States government. That said, the current Washington dynamic has offered up a new fact: Technology policy and regulation is game for political football.
That’s a damn shame. Long gone now, it seems, are the days in which technology managed to steer mostly clear of politics. Perhaps there never was such a time, and we have merely invented it. But whether it did or did not exist before, it is certainly gone now. Let’s review.
A House bill that would fund the government, but remove funding for the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), was slapped down in the Senate. The House began to compile a bill to replace its first effort that contained a grab-bag of conservative wishes. One of those wishes was the ‘blocking’ of net neutrality.
So, tech policy was lashed aside fiscal policy as a gimme to House members who think that the regulation is somehow anti-Internet, and likely accept large donations from telco firms that are opposed to it.
Happily, that idea is dead. Instead, according to Politico and nearly every other political outlet, House Republicans will strap a one year delay of ObamaCare to their bill to fund the government. Senate Democrats and the President have flatly stated that any such bill is dead on arrival.
So, net neutrality managed to dodge whatever might have come its way, but the government itself is still hosed. I don’t see a way that we avoid shutdown. But Verizon won’t be able to charge Netflix exorbitant fees to send its content to its subscribers. That’s good. And other ISPs won’t be able to slow the content of rival companies, which is also a pretty decent outcome.
Anyway, that’s where we are at. It’ll be an interesting week.
Top Image Credit: House GOP Leader