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Ars Technica: Net neutrality on chopping block as Democrats fight to save FCC’s rules

Senators Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.) today said they will try to preserve the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules in a budget standoff with Republicans.

“ISPs are certainly free to file their suits but until they prevail, and I don’t believe they will, there is no basis for Republicans blocking the FCC from doing its job,” Franken said in a press conference today.

ISPs previously petitioned a federal appeals court for a stay that would delay implementation of the rules until the legal case is decided. The court refused to issue a stay, allowing the net neutrality rules to take effect on June 12. But the Republican budget proposal for fiscal 2016 would prohibit implementation of the rules until the court cases are over.

The White House urged Republicans to pass the budget without “unrelated ideological provisions,” such as the net neutrality prohibition. Franken and Markey said they plan to make sure the budget as passed by Congress doesn’t include the net neutrality ban, but President Obama could veto the budget if Democrats lose the battle.

“I think the president should veto it, I think the president will veto it,” Markey said. “This is a central economic growth issue for this administration.”

To make sure it doesn’t get to that point, Markey said, “we will have to organize as Democrats to block this rider and any other riders the Republicans seek to attach to the appropriations process. Net neutrality is at the top of the list.”

The FCC’s net neutrality order reclassified broadband providers as common carriers and issued prohibitions on blocking or throttling traffic or giving priority to Web services in exchange for payment.

The budget proposal from House Republicans says that “none of the funds made available” to the FCC may be used to implement net neutrality rules until “there has been a final disposition” on the court cases pitting ISPs vs the FCC.