Republicans back off net neutrality gambit

Republican senators had threatened an amendment to forbid the FCC from spending funds on net neutrality regulation. After a call from the agency's boss, they've backed off.

Well that didn't last long. Only a day after six Republicans threatened an effort to derail new net neutrality regulations proposed by FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) has backed off, The Washington Post reports.

What's behind the change of heart? Just a phone call.

"While we are still generally opposed to net neutrality regulations, we have decided to hold off on the amendment because [FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski] approached us and we are beginning a dialogue," said a staff member on the committee.

An FCC official confirmed that Genachowski called the Republicans to begin a conversation about the proposal. The whole thing was more PR -- would it be cynical to suggest the intended audience of the move was the senators' corporate donors? -- than serious legislation. Rebecca Arbogast, head of technology policy research at Stifel Nicholas, said there was no chance the proposed amendment to a spending bill would pass:

The likelihood of it getting passed it pretty low. This is standard procedure and a time-honored tradition but the Republicans are in the minority.