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Discussions are ongoing at the Federal Communications Commission on how to tackle the controversial 2015 net neutrality rules, new chairman Ajit Pai made clear on Thursday, as he assiduously avoided making news on how the agency might roll the regulations back.

But Pai did indicate what outside considerations are weighing on commission staffers:

  • The courts: Pai said that whether a federal court will rehear a legal challenge to the rules "is one of the factors that is going into our thinking."
  • Congress: He also said he had been "meeting with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to hear their views about this issue."
  • The legal risks: Morning Consult reported in December that it could be difficult for the commission to explain in court why they so quickly changed course, despite a deep record of evidence the previous commission developed in favor of the rules. "I mean that's part of what we're trying to figure out, what the lay of the land is in terms of the legal landscape as well," Pai said when asked about that story. "So I can't say what that is but I'm aware of people who have made those comments, of course."

What's next: We'll be watching for what happens once the federal courts say whether they will rehear the case over the rules, and for whether Congress starts moving in earnest on a compromise on the issue.

Go deeper

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden readies massive shifts in policy for his first days in office.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.
  6. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.
Dave Lawler, author of World
6 hours ago - World

Alexey Navalny detained after landing back in Moscow

Navalny and his wife shortly before he was detained. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny was detained upon his return to Moscow on Sunday, which came five months after he was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok. He returned despite being warned that he would be arrested.

The latest: Navalny was stopped at a customs checkpoint and led away alone by officers. He appeared to hug his wife goodbye, and his spokesman reports that his lawyer was not allowed to accompany him.

Mike Allen, author of AM
8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's "overwhelming force" doctrine

President-elect Biden arrives to introduce his science team in Wilmington yesterday. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

President-elect Biden has ordered up a shock-and-awe campaign for his first days in office to signal, as dramatically as possible, the radical shift coming to America and global affairs, his advisers tell us. 

The plan, Part 1 ... Biden, as detailed in a "First Ten Days" memo from incoming chief of staff Ron Klain, plans to unleash executive orders, federal powers and speeches to shift to a stark, national plan for "100 million shots" in three months.