Public interest groups and other advocates of the FCC’s decision to classify and regulate broadband as a Title II telecommunications service lined up in opposition to House appropriations legislation that would bar the FCC from using federal funds to implement the Open Internet order while court appeals of that order remain pending.  Yesterday, members of the House Financial Services Subcommittee initiated a markup session on the measure, which authorizes funding for the FCC, the Federal Trade Commission and other agencies.  For FY 2016, the bill proposes an outlay of $314.8 million for the FCC, which is $73 million less than what the FCC requested and $25 million less than what the agency received during FY 2015.  In addition to prohibiting FCC use of FY 2016 funds for net neutrality enforcement, the FCC would also be prohibited from using FY 2016 funds to regulate charges or data limits for broadband Internet access.  The bill also bars the FCC from enforcing any new or amended rule, or repealing any rule “unless the Commission publishes the text of such rule, amendment, or repeal on the Internet web site of the Commission not later than 21 days before the date on which the vote occurs.”    

In remarks to the press, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (D-KY) explained that, “while making good use of limited tax dollars, this legislation . . . makes great strides in reining in wasteful spending and stopping harmful and unnecessary bureaucratic overreach.”  An official of the New America Foundation, however, lamented that provisions targeting the Open Internet order “[ignore] the millions of Americans who asked the FCC for strong net neutrality rules.”