Congress

Clyburn Will Make Hill Plea for Open Internet Order

FCC commissioner to join House E&C Dems in press conference after Pai speech 4/26/2017 8:43 AM Eastern
Democratic FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn

FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn will join House Energy & Commerce Committee Democrats on the Hill Wednesday following a planned speech by FCC chair Ajit Pai about the future of net-neutrality regulation.

Clyburn is the lone remaining FCC commissioner who supported the FCC's 2015 Open Internet order.

Foes of the reversal of the Title II, common-carrier reclassification of ISPs under Democratic FCC chairman Tom Wheeler and President Barack Obama are expecting Pai's speech to lay out the plans for the chairman's expected rollback -- he strongly dissented from the Open Internet order's reclassification -- though some were looking more for a broad brush than a blueprint.

Clyburn has the power to block a rollback, at least temporarily, by not voting the item on circulation, or not showing up at a public meeting where it was scheduled to be voted, or resigning when her term ends at the end of June -- she could stay on until the end of the Congress after this one if she wanted -- or before.

Related: FCC's Clyburn: 'I Still Have Work to Do'

The FCC needs a quorum to approve items and currently is down to three commissioners:, Pai, fellow Republican and Title II reclassification opponent Michael O'Rielly and Clyburn.

Scheduled to appear at the afternoon press conference on the Hill side are ranking member Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), Communications Subcommittee ranking member Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) and Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.).

Pai has been discussing net neutrality with telecom trade groups and edge providers, including how a voluntary commitment to openness regime might work.

Supporters of the FCC's Open Internet order, including Democrats on the Hill, have sworn to fight a pitched battle to preserve it, as they did to get the FCC to pivot toward Title II under Wheeler.

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