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House Democrats support FCC’s net neutrality push

House Democrats in support of the FCC’s proposed net neutrality rules will face tough opposition from Republicans.

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-CA, chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, said he supports the net neutrality bill introduced by Reps. Edward Markey, D-MA, and Anna Eshoo, D-CA. The bill would prevent Internet service providers from blocking or prioritizing legal content on the Web.

“President Obama has made ensuring an open Internet a central plank in his communications policy platform, and he has my full support,” Waxman said. Waxman pledged to work with other committee members to shepherd the bill through Congress.

Republicans indicated they would fight efforts to pass net neutrality legislation. “We all agree that the market is competitive. I’m very weary of talk of efforts to increase regulations where there is really no compelling case to do so,” said Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-TN.

A federal appeals court is reviewing the FCC’s citation last year of Comcast for throttling certain high-bandwidth video applications. The FCC said the practice violated its Internet principles, but opponents said the commission doesn’t have the authority to impose such punishments. Large telecom firms like AT&T, Verizon Communications and Comcast say they need flexibility to manage their networks.

Industry insiders say little government action will occur on net neutrality until the court announces its decision.