House Committee Says No to Net Neutrality

The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday struck down the so-called Markey Amendment in the proposed Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act (COPE), also known as the Barton-Rush Act.

The provision offered by Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., would have ensured net neutrality requirements, but was voted down 34-22 during mark-up procedures on the bill.

“The Commerce Committee is headed in the opposite direction of where the American public wants to go,” said Timothy Wu, Columbia law professor, market advocate and supporter of the newly formed bipartisan coalition. “Most people favor an open and neutral Internet and dont want Internet gatekeepers taxing and toll-boothing innovation.”

Earl Comstock, president and CEO of COMPTEL, also expressed his disappointment with the decision to remove the amendment from the bill. He said the committee capitulated to Bell company lobbying and said members have done more harm than good.

The committee spent the day reviewing the COPE bill and voting on all of the proposed amendments. The proposed legislation next moves from the committee to a full House vote. The Senate Commerce Committee is expected to take up net neutrality legislation in the coming weeks.

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