Yesterday's Senate Commerce Committee Markup

So yesterday the Senate Commerce Committee had a markup of the Stevens bill.  There are 214 amendments to get through, and they didn't really get through many of them.  The Committee didn't vote on the net neutrality issue, or the big bill itself.  The Senators will pick this up again on Tuesday.

The Stevens bill is being rushed through the process; it's an extremely complicated piece of legislation with far reaching changes that extend beyond net neutrality.  Typically, telecom bills take several Congressional cycles, because it's hard stuff to understand.  The bill just doesn't need to get done this year, and the whispers that it won't get done are getting louder.  In an election year, a lot of Senators don't want to have to vote on some of the more controversial provisions.  The telecom lobbyists are leaning hard to push this through, and Ted Stevens, ever the appropriator and deal-cutter, wants this badly, so we'll see what happens.

So that's where we are on the political front.

In terms of the public debate, there's a bit of new flim-flammery from the telco shills.  The telco front-group Hands Off the Internet is running this TV ad which says explicitly that the COPE Act, the law passed in the House that eviscerates network neutrality, actually protects against discrimination on the internet by enshrining network neutrality into law.  That claim is false.

And it's obviously false.  

I keep pointing to this page on the Hands Off site which asks consumers to write their Senators "to oppose net neutrality".  Meanwhile, the TV ad they are running makes the explicit claim that the legislation they support protects net neutrality, including discrimination (which is really the heart of the issue).

This fight really does come down to trust.  The telecom lobbyists started their argument by staking themselves as net neutrality opponents, in the guise of 'don't regulate the internet!'; this is also what telecom execs are saying.  Now that the lobbyists have realized that network neutrality is popular, they are reversing their position and claiming that their law protects network neutrality better.  Which of course guts the consistency of their supposed anti-regulatory approach.

Regardless, they should probably pay someone to update their website and make it all consistently dishonest on one side or the other.

Tags: net neutrality (all tags)

Comments

17 Comments

Re: Yesterday's Senate Commerce Committee Markup

I don't think what they are saying is inconsistent at all - they support the provisions of the COPE act on net neut, but they oppose provisions that would go too far and adversely effect investment and deployment.  How is that inconsistent?

by dem1 2006-06-23 08:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Yesterday's Senate Commerce Committee Markup

The people on this site who keep trashing Senator Obama should fear for their souls.

by dem1 2006-06-23 09:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Yesterday's Senate Commerce Committee Markup

Tremble ye trolls...

by Matt Stoller 2006-06-23 12:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Yesterday's Senate Commerce Committee Markup

Not everyone who disagrees with you is a troll, Matt.  I find that you often don't respond to arguments, you just attack the opponent based on assumptions you've made.

by dem1 2006-06-23 12:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Yesterday's Senate Commerce Committee Markup

You just wrote that I should fear for my soul for criticizing Obama.  How is that not trollish?

by Matt Stoller 2006-06-23 07:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Yesterday's Senate Commerce Committee Markup

Everyone who disagrees is a troll?

by dem1 2006-06-24 04:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Yesterday's Senate Commerce Committee Markup

The net neutrality issue is full of confusion, but I trust Oregon Senator Ron Wyden to help us negotiate this maize - some regulation proposals are good and effective at protecting the ordinary user and the diversity and opportunity we all - well most of us - treasure on the net. Some of the proposed regulation is misleading.

I talked with Senator Wyden's press aide yesterday, and he recommended supporting the Snowe-Dorgan amendment to Sen. Steven's bill in the Commerce Committee today and next Tuesday. You can find Senator Wyden's perspective at Wyden on Net Neutrality. We need protection partly because the FCC has dropped the protection the internet once had that barred discrimination.

by Rachel Ozretich 2006-06-23 10:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Yesterday's Senate Commerce Committee Markup

Huh?  The FCC adopted broadband principles, the first of which is no blocking of web sites, the second of which is no degradation of services - how is this dropping the protection?  

by dem1 2006-06-23 10:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Yesterday's Senate Commerce Committee Markup

Read their web site, specifically the part where they ask readers to send letters that say:

"I am writing to ask you to oppose "Network Neutrality.""

by Matt Stoller 2006-06-23 12:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Yesterday's Senate Commerce Committee Markup

I'm sure they oppose net neutrality - however, in telecom, as in life, there are nuances to policy - its not inconsistent to support what the House did but to work for a different outcome in the Senate.

by dem1 2006-06-23 12:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Yesterday's Senate Commerce Committee Markup

"the COPE Act, the law passed in the House that eviscerates network neutrality"

What? Matt, this is just a blatant falsehood. The COPE Act gives legal force to the FCC's four principles. It may not have gone as far as you would like, but it did not "eviscerate" net neutrality.

Whether you agree with them or not, this ad isn't inconsistent with what the people at HandsOff have been saying. They have opposed "net neutrality" laws that they say are too broad or restrictive, but support codifying the existing net neturality regulations. I think that this ad is about further defining a position, not about changing it.

by WADem 2006-06-23 10:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Yesterday's Senate Commerce Committee Markup

support codifying the existing net neturality regulations.

Read their web site, specifically the part where they ask readers to send letters that say:

"I am writing to ask you to oppose "Network Neutrality.""

by Matt Stoller 2006-06-23 12:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Yesterday's Senate Commerce Committee Markup

I just checked out their letter, and you're right - there are quotation marks around "Network Neutrality."

The letter that they suggest also goes on to say this:

"Please follow the lead of the recent House of Representatives vote, and don't reverse the longstanding "hands off" government policy for the Internet, just to protect the profits of a few giant online businesses. "

COPE did not "eviscerate" net neutrality, and neither will anything that comes out of the Senate.

by WADem 2006-06-23 12:40PM | 0 recs
Problems of a strident tone

I'm certainly all in favor of (what I understand to be) net neutrality, and the use of regulation to secure it for the future.

I, like (I suspect) many of those visiting MyDD, have no grasp of the technical detail, and have done no more than glance at any text of COPE or the Stevens bill (which is, no doubt, changing as I write).

If I were to take at random one of the amendments coming up in the markup and asked whether I supported or opposed it, I wouldn't be able to say.

In these circumstances, my strong instinct would be that no legislation should be passed in the 109th, and that the 110th should start on a fresh bill early in the Congress.

However, according to Brer Berners-Lee, we need a bill this Congress.

If so, my next choice would be a bill that acted as a preliminary injunction, to preserve the current law, regulation and practice until a new law could be passed in the 110th.

If (as I'm pretty sure is right), that is practically impossible to secure, I am at a loss to know what is best.

But I have a pretty shrewd idea that it is not something that can be encapsulated in a slogan.

If we could get away from the Stoller-McCurry vendetta and tabloid ranting, and concentrate on how to get the best result for the ordinary net user, that would be a great thing.

by skeptic06 2006-06-23 01:51PM | 0 recs
Off Topic - Montana Blogs Covering Tester/Burns

I just wanted to provide a few more links to Montana blogs covering this race:

Wulfgar's Mountain View
Intelligent Discontent
4&20 Blackbirds

by Left in the West 2006-06-23 02:37PM | 0 recs
may i suggest

an additional strategy.

perhaps this is either totally obvious or naive and impossible, but it seems to me with such a monster bill and an election year, combined with the potential  the title by title review has to slow it down, we should look for friends.

goddess i was pissed to read about jesse jackson in on this.

by chicago dyke 2006-06-23 06:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Yesterday's Senate Commerce Committee Markup
The blogosphere is getting a lot of attention lately, the "left-leaning" blogs. My antenna is buzzing. Rove says the internet for the "left" mobilizes hate & anger. Since the YearlyKos convention, I have noticed an upsurge in critical opinion pieces online & in print and increasing in intensity.
Since I became aware of the net neutrality issue, I have thought that it is not only the corporate profit-making engine that is driving the train. I came upon a Jan 27/06 article in BBC news, "US Plans to Fight the Internet" by Adam Brookes, Pentagon correspondent. (news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4655196.st m). The first line in the piece is "Bloggers beware". The Pentagon plan (2003) signed by Rumsfeld is called "Informations Operations Roadmap". The words "fighting the internet" occur more than once in the plan.
I may have missed seeing this aspect explored. What is mydd's & other blog's take on this?  
by sisutude 2006-06-24 04:34AM | 0 recs

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