The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has voted on new "Open Internet" policies, and politicians from the Legislative and Executive Branches have mixed reactions to the decision. 

On Thursday, the FCC's vote included the "Bright Lines Rules," which bans Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from blocking applications, legal content, services; no throttling, referring to broadband providers to avoid impairing or degrading Internet traffic; and ISPs should neglect additional fees in exchange for "fast lanes," or quicker Internet service.

The FCC vote featured "broadband Internet access service" as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act of 1996. As a result, the FCC noted, "This decision is fundamentally a factual one. It recognizes that today broadband Internet access service is understood by the public as a transmission platform through which consumers can access third-party content, applications, and services of their choosing."

Following Tuesday's vote, politicians issued statements, available on the Internet, about the new FCC rules.

A message from President Barack Obama appeared on the Reddit Blog. He wrote, "Earlier today (Thursday), the FCC voted to protect a free and open Internet -- the kind of Internet that allows entrepreneurs to thrive and debates over duck-sized horses and horse-sized ducks to persist. This would not have happened without the activism and engagement of millions of Americans like you. And that was a direct result of communities like reddit. So to all the redditors who participated in this movement, I have a simple message: Thank you."

House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, denounced the FCC's decision. He said government bureaucrats should refrain from handling the Internet and recognized the three of five "yes" votes were from people Obama appointed.

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Boehner said, "The text of the proposal is being kept hidden from the American people and their elected representatives in Congress, and the FCC's chairman has so far refused to testify about it. This total lack of transparency and accountability does not bode well for the future of a free and open Internet, not to mention the millions of Americans who use it every day."

While the FCC is an independent agency, Boehner accused the White House of interfering with the ruling. The House speaker also predicted the ruling to encounter the same fate as the Affordable Care Act, also referred to as Obamacare, with expensive legal battles.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said, "The power of the Internet has always rested in its role as a level playing field where success is founded on the best ideas, not the deepest pockets. We finally have strong rules that protect consumers and innovators and will safeguard fair, fast, equal and competitive access to the Internet. These net neutrality standards will ensure that everyone has access to all the Internet can offer without gatekeepers influencing content, picking winners, or blocking the way."

In the U.S. Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., referred to the independent agency as "the Obama administration's FCC" while addressing the Senate floor.

"The growth of the Internet and the rapid adoption of mobile technology have been great American success stories. And they were made possible by a light regulatory touch. ... That means encouraging innovation, not suffocating it under the weight of an outdated bureaucracy and poorly named regulations like this one," said McConnell, noting the Obama administration has to move on from its "1930s rotary-telephone mindset and embrace the future."

In a short statement, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said, "The [FCC on Thursday] took decisive action to adopt strong net neutrality rules that will keep the Internet free and open. I support the FCC's action and will work to preserve these rules."

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said the FCC decision threatens to "overregulate" the Internet, which would result in more expensive costs for consumers, fewer competition and less innovation.

"The Internet doesn't need more rules and mandates that take power away from consumers and hand it to a federal government board that every lobbyist, lawyer and crony capitalist with a vested interest in the Internet will now seek to manipulate to their advantage," Rubio said. "The Internet has worked so well so far precisely because it's been as level a playing field as we have in any industry today, but now this decision threatens to give government regulators the power to pick winners and losers."


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