The President and the Republican Congress have a choice.
They can vote to roll back the net neutrality protections that were put in place by the Obama administration, or they can go back to the rules of the road they inherited.
The White House and Republican leaders, including President Donald Trump, have signaled they want to keep the net-neutrality protections in place, at least as long as they are signed by President Barack Obama.
But there is an additional option.
Republicans have a powerful ally in the White House: the Federal Communications Commission.
The commission’s chairman, Ajit Pai, is a net-zero advocate who supports net neutrality.
So far, he’s voted to preserve the rules.
That means Republicans can vote for Pai’s repeal of net neutrality in order to keep net neutrality, even if it means giving the FCC more power to regulate broadband providers.
That’s a powerful leverage for Trump.
The FCC has no jurisdiction over the internet, and it has little authority to regulate internet service providers (ISPs) like cable companies.
It has no authority to require broadband providers to pay for prioritized access to content.
And Pai has proposed a rule that would make it easier for ISPs to block and discriminate against websites and applications that they don’t like.
These are all important features of a net neutrality that Republicans can use to keep internet access available to all Americans regardless of their income.
Pai’s decision to rollback the net and other Obama-era rules will have a huge impact on how Americans use the internet.
It could make internet service even more expensive, and could have devastating effects on the growth of online innovation.
In this episode, we’ll explore the consequences of Pai’s move, and we’ll look at how Republicans could take advantage of it to rollbacks net neutrality and other rules that were passed in the aftermath of the 2016 election.
This episode was produced by The Washington Post Writers Group.
Andrew Gross is the editorial director of The Washington Times.
John Heilemann is the Washington bureau chief for The Hill.
Andrew Prokop is the senior editor for the National Review and senior editor at Politico.
Sara Fagen is a senior policy fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation.
Robert Costa is a political reporter for The Washington Examiner.
Sam Feist is a contributing writer for The Post.
The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill