Senate Republicans demonstrated last night that they listened to voters, who are increasingly intolerant of earmarks and wasteful government spending. And rightly so, government debt is unsustainably high at a time where many Americans are still struggling to make ends meet. Trimming some of the lard off of the government budget is certainly a welcome change.

The omnibus bill was stopped in favor of a two-month continuing resolution to fund the government throughout 2010. The budget debate was pushed to 2011, where it will face a much more fiscally conservative Congress.

As reported in the Examiner:

The omnibus […] contained 6,700 earmarks costing $8.3 billion…  

Reid’s strategy to buy votes in exchange for pork-barrel projects may have worked in a pre-Tea Party era. But not today. Even big-spending Republicans with millions at stake in earmarks came out against the measure.  

One of the less-mentioned amendments in the government budget would have prohibited “the FCC from using any appropriated funds to adopt, implement or otherwise litigate any network neutrality based rules, protocols or standards.” From the Washington Post:  

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.), ranking member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee filed an amendment to an appropriations bill aimed at preventing the Federal Communications Commission from adopting net neutrality regulation.


The legislation comes from an emboldened Republican party that has taken the majority in House. They have promised to repeal regulations such as open-Internet rules that they say would harm the communications industry’s growth and ability to create jobs.

The FCC’s five commissioners are deliberating draft rules proposed by Chairman Julius Genachowski that would prevent Internet service providers from blocking access to Web sites or favoring the access to some content over others.

It’s unfortunate that this promising amendment was buried inside the contentious, and ultimately failed, budget bill. A few weeks ago, I blogged about the FCC’s plans to vote on net neutrality this December 21st, despite the FCC having been given no congressional authority to regulate broadband data flow.  Read my post here, to find out more about what’s at stake in the net neutrality debate, and how the FCC’s regulatory overreach would impact innovation, economic growth, and job creation.  

Although the amendment to block FCC action on net neutrality died with the omnibus bill, the outcome of the FCC vote to regulate broadband data flow next week is far from clear. Should the vote fail, this would give Congress, who should be the relevant authority in this issue anyhow, another chance to decide on the matter. Should the FCC vote in favor of net neutrality, the decision may be struck down in court.