Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is endorsing the Federal Communications Commission’s plan for tough net neutrality regulations.

During a conference on women in Silicon Valley on Tuesday, the likely presidential candidate sided with President Obama and agency Chairman Tom Wheeler in calling for strong Web rules under Title II of the Communications Act, a law that has previously been used for utility services like phone lines.

{mosads}“I would vote for net neutrality because, as I understand it, it’s Title II with a lot of changes within it in order to avoid the worst of the utility regulations,” she said. “It’s a foot in the door. It’s a value statement.”

At the same time, the ex-senator and first lady appeared to agree with critics who have called for Congress to write new legislation to better clarify how regulators should oversee people’s access to the Internet. Many Republicans who have chided the FCC’s controversial step have said that Congress, not unelected bureaucrats, should be in charge of the big decisions.

But that will take time, Clinton said, and in the mean time the FCC should act.

“I think that for the FCC to do what they want to do to try to create net neutrality as the norm, they have to have a hook to hang it on,” Clinton said. “So they’re hanging it on Title II.”

“It’s the only hook they’ve got,” she added.

Clinton, who is expected to launch a presidential campaign in coming months, said that net neutrality rules should be just one part of a rewrite of the foundational communications law, which was last updated in 1996. The issue should be included alongside provisions to expand infrastructure, open up the nation’s airwaves and increase competition, she said.

“That should be part of a really smart legislative endeavor,” Clinton said, “but I don’t think people believe that can happen in the short term.”

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have begun work to rewrite the law, though the issue of net neutrality — which has become increasingly partisan in recent weeks — threatens to torpedo any chance of agreement. 

The FCC is scheduled to vote on its net neutrality rules on Thursday morning.

Tags Hillary Clinton Net neutrality Network neutrality
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