The movement to ban paid prioritization has a new approach: order the FCC to do things it lacks the authority to do. Senator Pat Leahy, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, introduced a bill that would “order the [FCC] to promulgate regulations within 90 days that prohibit companies from paying broadband ISPs for special treatment, while also barring ISPs from giving special treatment to their corporate siblings.”   TF’s Berin Szoka explained in the LA Times and in The Verge how this proposal amounts to nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

Berin Szoka of TechFreedom, a group that advocates a deregulatory approach to technology policy, called the proposal “the worst kind of political theatre” because it orders the commission to do something Congress hadn’t given it the authority to do. “If Leahy and Matsui were really serious,” Szoka wrote in an email, “they’d propose … statutory language that would actually provide the necessary legal authority for the FCC to regulate prioritization — and join the dialogue their Republican counterparts have already started” about overhauling the Communications Act.”