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Senate subcommittee votes to block funding for FCC net neutrality order

A Senate appropriations subcommittee voted Wednesday on a broad funding measure that contains a provision prohibiting the Federal Communications Commission from spending money to enforce its net neutrality order.

The FY 2016 financial service and general government appropriations bill will be voted on by the full committee on Thursday.

The bill budgets $320 million for the FCC, $20 million below the 2015 budget. It also grandfathers all TV station joint sales agreements that would have to be unwound under an FCC rule passed last year.

The FCC’s open Internet order took effect June 12, but is being challenged by cable and telecom Internet service providers in the D.C. circuit court of appeals.

Congressional Republicans have turned to their budgeting power as a way to scale back the FCC’s order, which reclassified ISPs as common carriers.

A House appropriations financial service and general government appropriations bill which prohibits the FCC from enforcing the open Internet rules, passed the committee last month.

In addition to funding the FCC, the financial services and general government appropriations bill also funds a number of agencies, including the Federal Trade Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service.