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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

Anti-abortion activists' Supreme Court dreams are coming true

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela. Photos: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

This is the moment the conservative legal movement has been building toward for decades: The solidly conservative Supreme Court is about to hear two major abortion cases within a month of each other.

Why it matters: All of this is likely to end with significant new restrictions on abortion and a clear path for Republican-led states to win the next big abortion cases, too — the culmination of a long and bitter fight for control of the judiciary.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
38 mins ago - Economy & Business

Trump's volatile return to the stock market

Expand chart
Data: YCharts; Chart: Axios Visuals 

Donald Trump this week became both a meme stock and a social-media entrepreneur at the same time, by announcing that a new company called Trump Media & Technology Group was going to merge with an existing company listed on the stock market.

Why it matters: The medium-term promise of Trump's media company is that it will replace Twitter for anybody wanting to keep track of Trump's messages. The short-term promise is that it can be a hot new speculative vehicle for people wanting to get rich quick in the stock market.

Updated 10 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.