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F.C.C. Net Neutrality Rules Clear Hurdle as Republicans Concede to Obama

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This July 1, 2013 file photo shows Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. speaking with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington.  A bill to renew a package of more than 50 expired tax breaks cleared its first hurdle in the Senate Tuesday. Other hurdles remain, however. The Senate voted 96 to 3 to open debate on the bill, which has strong backing from the business community but would add about $85 billion to the budget deficit. Almost every year, Congress routinely renews the tax breaks. This year, though, they were allowed to expire at the start of the year. The Senate bill would extend the tax breaks through 2015.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

This July 1, 2013 file photo shows Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. speaking with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

WASHINGTON (New York Times) — Senior Republicans conceded on Tuesday that the grueling fight with President Obama over the regulation of Internet service appears over, with the president and an army of Internet activists victorious.

The Federal Communications Commission is expected on Thursday to approve regulating Internet service like a public utility, prohibiting companies from paying for faster lanes on the Internet. While the two Democratic commissioners are negotiating over technical details, they are widely expected to side with the Democratic chairman, Tom Wheeler, against the two Republican commissioners.

And Republicans on Capitol Hill, who once criticized the plan as “Obamacare for the Internet,” now say they are unlikely to pass a legislative response that would undo perhaps the biggest policy shift since the Internet became a reality.

“We’re not going to get a signed bill that doesn’t have Democrats’ support,” said Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota and chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. “This is an issue that needs to have bipartisan support.”

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