The U.S. Federal Communications Commission took a big step forward toward legislating government regulation of the Internet Tuesday with a bureaucratic vote in favor of so-called “net neutrality” rules, despite the past rejection of such measures by Congress and the courts, not to mention the prohibition on government meddling in speech and the press listed in the First Amendment to the Constitution.
Moments ago, the United States Senate voted to pass the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, named after a police detective who worked at Ground Zero and died from lung problems as a result. Up until this morning, the future of the bill was questionable as Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma threatened to prevent the measure from reaching the floor. Once Coburn struck a deal with Senate Democrats that lowered the cost of the bill, however, the legislation was taken up by unanimous consent, without debate or a roll call vote.
Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn announced that he will block the 9/11 Responders bill from coming to the Senate floor before Christmas. Coburn and his Republican colleagues have articulated numerous concerns with the bill, including the $6.2 billion cost.
The new START Treaty appears to be on its way to ratification as pressure to move forward on the treaty has increased. According to the AFP, President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have targeted wary lawmakers to encourage support of the treaty. Meanwhile, a vote to end debate on the treaty is expected to take place today or tomorrow.