Overnight Regulation: FCC votes to begin net neutrality rollback

Overnight Regulation: FCC votes to begin net neutrality rollback

Welcome to Overnight Regulation, your daily rundown of news from the federal agencies, Capitol Hill and beyond. It's Thursday evening here in Washington where Trump is expected to announce his pick for FBI director before he leaves Friday for a trip abroad. Here's a look at who's in the running.

 

THE BIG STORY 

Federal Communications Commission Chair Ajit Pai is a step closer to rolling back former President Obama's net neutrality rules. 

As The Hill's Ali Breland and Harper Neidig report, the commission voted 2-1 along party lines Thursday to advance Pai's proposal to repeal current net neutrality protections, opening the plan up for public comment.

The FCC's formal decision to consider the proposal did not come without resistance. The commission's lone Democrat, Mignon Clyburn, harshly criticized the proposal, and activists braved the heat to protest outside FCC headquarters.

"While the majority engages in flowery rhetoric about light-touch regulation and so on, the endgame appears to be no-touch regulation and a wholescale destruction of the FCC's public interest authority in the 21st century," Clyburn said in her dissent.

Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Overnight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids Dems push for more money for opioid fight MORE (R-S.D.), the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, applauded the move and called for Democrats to come to the table to work out a legislative compromise on the issue.

"In politics, it is rare to get a second chance at bipartisan compromise, yet right now we have an opportunity to accomplish what eluded us two years ago -- clear and certain rules in statute to protect the open internet," he said on the Senate floor ahead of the commission's vote. 

Pai's proposal would undermine existing net neutrality rules by undoing the legal basis of the regulations. The 2015 order imposed the rules by reclassifying the broadband industry as telecommunications services, which brought internet service providers under the FCC's tougher authority.

Democrats and privacy and consumer groups were quick to criticize the committee for advancing Pai's plan. 

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerAmerica isn't ready to let Sessions off his leash Schumer celebrates New York Giants firing head coach: ‘About time’ GOP should reject the left's pessimism and the deficit trigger MORE (D-N.Y.) called it a "flat out mistake." 

"Unraveling net neutrality would stifle U.S. economic growth and innovation, and make it harder for our entrepreneurs to be successful," he said. "I am confident the American people and Democrats in Congress will once again be relentless in making their voices heard and resisting the senseless repeal of these critical consumer protections for an open internet."

The Consumers Union called Pai's plan "chilling."

"This proposal should be chilling to everyone who values the internet as a platform for free speech, commerce, entrepreneurship and citizen engagement," the public policy group said in a statement. 

"Preserving the open internet has prompted an unprecedented response from consumers on multiple occasions, with millions voicing their continued support for net neutrality rules. We implore Chairman Pai to listen to the interests of the public the Commission was tasked with protecting."

Read the full story here

 

TOMORROW'S REGS TODAY

Keep an eye on these rules in Friday's edition of the Federal Register:

--The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) will propose new protections for children's booster seats.

The booster seat safety standards would apply to those that help young children sit up at the dinner table, but not those that are used in cars.

The CPSC described a booster seat as a "juvenile chair, which is placed on an adult chair to elevate a child to standard dining table height. The booster seat is made for the purpose of containing a child, up to 5 years of age, and normally for the purposes of feeding or eating." 

The CPSC reports two deaths and another 146 injuries to children who were sitting in booster seats since 2008.

The public has 75 days to comment.

--The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will again delay an Obama-era rule on drug prices.

The Obama administration in January set new ceiling prices and civil penalties under the 340B drug-pricing program. But the changes were delayed by President Trump's regulatory moratorium.

The drug-pricing rule was scheduled to go into effect next week, but HHS will delay it a second time until October 1.

--The Department of Transportation (DOT) will delay new performance measures for highways, including on greenhouse gas emissions.

The Transportation Department's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will delay the rule which would have required state and local governments to take emissions measurements for highways and freight.

The agency will reopen the regulatory proceedings.

The Hill's Timothy Cama has more on the decision here.

 

NEWS RIGHT NOW 

Johnson urges FDA commissioner to review net rules for e-cigarettes 

Senate panel advances Trump's appeals court nominee 

Democrats prod Trump Interior nominee over lobbying work 

Heitkamp, Manchin under pressure over GOP regs bill

Mnuchin mum as Dems press for answers on tax reform, Dodd-Frank

Democrats prod Trump Interior nominee over lobbying work

GOP senators push Trump for DOE research funding

Sinclair deal puts heat on FCC

Treasury to call for rolling back banking regulations – The Washington Post 

Unless we share them, self-driving vehicles will just make traffic worse – Vox 

Texas mom posts warning after daughter chokes on fidget spinner – CBS News

 

BY THE NUMBERS

12: Proposed rules

10: Final rules

(Source: Friday's Federal Register)

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"The marijuana industry is the next Big Tobacco of our time, and history will not look kindly upon those who enabled lobbyists and special interest groups to gain a foothold in putting profit ahead of public health and safety," -- Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which advocates against legalizing pot.

Lawmakers and advocates are renewing their push to end the federal ban on marijuana. Click here for the story.