GOP Rep. Calls for Delaying Net-Neutrality Vote

Coffman says Congress should first hold hearings, strike legislative compromise

There has been a slight break in the ranks of Republicans on the network-neutrality rules rollback.

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) wrote FCC chair Ajit Pai Tuesday (Dec. 12) to ask him to delay the planned Dec. 14 vote on rolling back net-neutrality regs.

Thx to everyone who has contacted me in regards to #NetNeutrality. Below is the letter I sent to Chairman @AjitPaiFCC today to ensure the continuation of a free and open #internet.

— Rep. Mike Coffman (@RepMikeCoffman) December 12, 2017

Democrats in large numbers have been calling on Pai to delay or cancel the vote, but Republicans have been cheering the move, while adding that network-neutrality must be preserved and that Congress should step in and settle the debate by clarifying the FCC's network-neutrality regulatory authority.

Related: Thune Says Congress Needs to Settle Net-Neutrality Debate

"I am concerned that any action you may take to alter the rules under which it functions may well have significant unanticipated negative consequences, Coffman wrote. "Therefore, I urge you to delay your upcoming vote..."

Coffman said Pai should hold off and let Congress hold hearings and come up with permanent legislation to protect an open internet. He said he believed Congress can find the right balance of light touch authority and openness.

The tone of the letter was cordial. Coffman said he looked forward to working with Pai on a permanent legislative solution.

So far that solution has run up against Democrats, who have said it needs to be based in Title II, and Republicans who say that is a nonstarter.

Pai has signaled that vote is a go for Dec. 14, at which time Republican FCC members are expected to reclassify ISPs under Title II non-common carrier authority, and roll back the prohibitions on blocking, throttling and paid prioritization.

Net-neutrality activists were jumping on the defection.

"We commend Representative Coffman for listening to his constituents and asking Chairman Pai to stop the vot," said Fight for the Future campaign director Even Greer. "We agree that the FCC’s should delay voting on their current proposal, and that strong net neutrality rules need to remain in place so that businesses and users remain protected."