Last week, I asked whether Republican leaders will rubber stamp President Obama’s internet giveaway. My fear was that they would end up backing a continuing resolution that does not include language blocking the transition away from U.S. oversight of the Internet’s domain name system.
Without that language, the Obama administration will hand oversight of the domain name system to an international organization. This would create a danger that countries like Russia, China, and Iran will be able to censor speech on the Internet, including here in the U.S., by blocking access to sites they don’t like.
To the surprise of few, the answer to my question seems to be that, yes, GOP leaders will rubber stamp the internet giveaway. According to this report in the Houston Chronicle, “Congressional leaders indicated [today] that they have resolved the remaining differences over a stop-gap funding measure to keep the government running with money to combat the Zika virus.” However, they left out “a controversial measure pushed by. . .Ted Cruz to maintain federal control of the Internet’s address system.”
I’m told that a member of Senator McConnell’s staff blamed Donald Trump for the capitulation. Supposedly, once Trump came out in favor of Cruz’s language, the Democrats realized the value of this issue and began asking for more concessions on the spending side in exchange for the language — concessions that were unacceptable.
This scenario sounds implausible to me. More plausible is a report from another source saying that Republican leadership simply didn’t really have much of a problem with the internet giveaway and wanted to stay on the good side of the tech giants who support it.
Trump seems like an excuse. I doubt that congressional Dems gauge the importance of issues to GOP members of Congress by what the tycoon says.
If anything, Cruz’s support for anti-giveaway language probably had more to do with the Republican capitulation than Trump’s. It’s well known that leadership dislikes the Texas Senator, so why stand behind him and enable him to win a big battle?
The two-fer of pleasing internet giants and thwarting Ted Cruz may have proven irresistible to GOP leadership. So what if doing so means potentially surrendering the internet to China, Russia, and the United Nations?