Federal regulators voted Thursday to allow Internet providers to speed up service for websites they favor — and block or slow down others — in a decision repealing landmark, Obama-era regulations overseeing broadband companies such as AT&T and Verizon.
The move by the Federal Communications Commission to deregulate the telecom and cable industries was a prominent example of the policy shifts taking place in Washington under President Trump and a major setback for consumer groups, tech companies and Democrats who had lobbied heavily against the decision.
The 3-2 vote, which was along party lines, enabled the FCC’s Republican chairman, Ajit Pai, to follow through on his promise to repeal the government’s 2015 net neutrality rules, which required Internet providers to treat all websites, large and small, equally. The agency also rejected some of its own authority over the broadband industry in a bid to stymie future FCC officials who might seek to reverse the Republican-led ruling.
Don’t worry, I’m sure we can trust Comcast and Verizon to always act in the consumer’s best interest.
* Erica Werner and Damian Paletta report that Republicans are living up to their promise that their tax bill is really all about helping middle-class families:
Congressional Republicans are looking at shortening the duration of tax cuts that their plan would give to families and individuals, a leading lawmaker said Thursday.
That change would free up more revenue for additional changes to their tax overhaul, but it could also heighten complaints that the bill prioritizes cuts for corporations over households.
Under a tax overhaul bill passed by the Senate earlier this month, tax cuts for all American households would expire at the end of 2025. But Republicans are now considering having those tax cuts expire in 2024.
I’m beginning to suspect that maybe, just maybe, cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy was the whole point of this thing.
* Jeff Stein reports that Marco Rubio is threatening that he’ll vote against the tax bill unless it includes a larger child tax credit. “Ha ha ha, sure you will!”, said absolutely everyone.
* Tim Alberta and Rachael Bade report that Paul Ryan is planning to step down at the end of next year.
* Kurt Bardella looks at how Steve Bannon is destroying the Republican Party.
* Lee Fang and Nick Surgey report that corporate lobbyists are gearing up to fight minimum wage increases in advance of the 2018 elections, before too many Democrats win back state legislative seats.
* Aaron Blake flags a poll showing that just 41 percent of Republicans say they’re inclined to believe women who accuse powerful men of sexual harassment.
* The DSCC is buying targeted Facebook ads tying vulnerable Republican senators to Roy Moore. Here’s the one targeting Dean Heller of Nevada. Expect more of this kind of thing.
* Merrill Goozner explains why we ought to federalize Medicaid.
* And McKay Coppins talks to worried Republicans about what the Alabama results portend in terms of more awful GOP candidates in 2018, and gets the quote of the day, from GOP strategist Nick Everhart:
“Part of the problem is we’ve trained our base to only respond to very specific messaging. We’ve fine-tuned what these people need to hear.”
That’s why they’re afraid of being dragged down by even more nutballs.