The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Thune says he isn’t throwing in the towel on net neutrality legislation

(AP Photo/Toby Brusseau, File)
Placeholder while article actions load

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) isn't giving up on net neutrality legislation. In fact, he's still interested in finding alternatives to what the Federal Communications Commission has proposed as the strongest rules on Internet providers the country has ever seen.

Contradicting a report by the New York Times Tuesday that Thune had "all but surrendered" to Democrats and the FCC days ahead of an agency vote on net neutrality, a committee spokesperson said that the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee is still committed to finding a legislative solution. Although a bill won't come together before the FCC votes, as many critics of the agency were hoping, GOP outreach to Democrats will continue.

"We have not had the opportunity to have that conversation with them in a post-decision world," said Frederick Hill, a committee aide. "Once the rules are made public for review, Sen. Thune is committed to pushing ahead. The FCC's direction is bad for the Internet and bad for consumers."

Even as the Times reported that Thune was backing off of his legislative effort, his staffers — and those working for his House counterparts — were asking tech companies to come in and discuss what they'd want out of a GOP net neutrality bill.

"The chairmen have asked us to meet with a broad set of stakeholders, including the diverse Internet company community, to better understand their views on the potential for bipartisan open Internet legislation," according to an invitation obtained by the Post and sent Tuesday to tech firms.

A Democratic aide on Tuesday also contradicted the Times report, saying that Thune is still pursuing a legislative response to the FCC's net neutrality rules.