Former FCC counselor says Dems will use oversight on net neutrality

A former counselor to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman under former President Obama said in an interview that aired Thursday on "Rising" that the new Democratic-majority House will probe the handling of net neutrality by the Trump administration. 

She noted that Democrats are “angry” with the FCC repealing the rules that protected consumers from slowing or blocking internet content.

"This FCC has had a very, very easy two years," Gigi Sohn, who is a Benton Senior Fellow and a public advocate, told Hill.TV's Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on "Rising." 

"I think there's going to be oversight both on the substance of what the FCC has done and also on the process," she continued. "On the substance, net neutrality. So this is the principle that your internet service provider shouldn't be able to block, throttle or otherwise discriminate against particular internet content."

"The FCC repealed the rules that we adopted in 2015, in 2017, and that has made Democrats very, very angry," she said.

The agency, under current Chairman Ajit Pai, voted to undo the net neutrality rules, which blocked companies like Verizon and Comcast from blocking or slowing down websites or creating internet “fast lanes.”

The decision quickly prompted backlash from Democrats, who argued the 2015 rules prevented service providers from discriminating against certain websites or increasing the speed of ones that they’re affiliated with. 

Pai has repeatedly clashed with congressional Democrats under the Trump administration.

The 13 Democratic lawmakers on the House Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, which oversees the FCC, called Pai out in a letter earlier this year for not responding to oversight letters or fully answering questions during congressional testimony. 

“We take our oversight responsibilities very seriously, and we expect witnesses before the Committee and recipients of our letters to treat their responses the same way," Democrats wrote. 

— Julia Manchester