House Energy and Commerce subcommittee ranking Republican Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore, asks questions of the witnesses during the subcommittee's hearing on auto dealership closures, Friday, June 12, 2009, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
House Energy and Commerce subcommittee ranking Republican Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore, asks questions of the witnesses during the subcommittee's hearing on auto dealership closures, Friday, June 12, 2009, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
House Energy and Commerce subcommittee ranking Republican Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore, asks questions of the witnesses during the subcommittee’s hearing on auto dealership closures, Friday, June 12, 2009, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(Politico) – Republicans in Congress are doing a 180 on net neutrality as the Federal Communications Commission prepares to issue new rules within weeks.

For years, GOP lawmakers have adamantly opposed any rules requiring Internet service providers to treat all Web traffic equally, calling them unnecessary and an example of Washington overreach.

But now that the FCC is moving toward issuing a tough net neutrality order that would subject broadband to utility-style regulation — an approach endorsed by President Barack Obama — top Republicans in both chambers are making plans to legislate their own rules to ensure the agency doesn’t go too far.

“Times have changed,” Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the chairman of the House telecom subcommittee, said when asked about the evolving GOP position on net neutrality. “The administration has latched onto this [utility-style regulation], and the FCC’s independence is nominal at best.”

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