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Robin Groulx / Axios

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has started to float details of a possible rollback of the agency's net neutrality rules to industry groups, according to reports from Politico Pro, the Wall Street Journal and Reuters.

The beginning of his efforts could be announced as soon as this month. A proposal would have to be circulated to his fellow commissioners by April 27 to be considered at the agency's May public meeting.

Gritty details: Multiple reports indicate Pai is considering taking steps that would look to stop broadband providers from slowing the delivery of content, blocking it altogether or speeding it up for a fee. Those are core tenants of the 2015 rules. But Pai has been clear that opposes the legal framework, known as Title II, that was used to get there.

Why it matters: This issue is on the radar of internet providers and Silicon Valley companies alike. And Pai's plan is going to raise the ire of liberal Democrats and public interest groups who just vocally opposed Congress's rollback of the FCC's online privacy rules. Expect this one to be a fight.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
51 mins ago - Economy & Business

Trump blocks banks from limiting loans to gun and oil companies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big banks are no longer allowed to reject business loan applicants because of the industry in which they operate, according to a new rule finalized on Thursday by the Trump administration.

Why it matters: Wall Street has curtailed its exposure to industries like guns, oil and private prisons, driven by both public and shareholder pressures. This new rule could reverse that trend.

Former FDA commissioner: "Reliable drug supply is absolutely critical"

Axios' Caitlin Owens and former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan. Photo courtesy of Axios Events

Having a reliable supply of pharmaceutical drugs throughout America will be "absolutely critical" to boosting affordability in health care during the Biden administration, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Mark McClellan said at a virtual Axios Event on Friday.

The big picture: McClellan, who served under President George W. Bush, says drugs having limited supply and limited competition leads to elevated pricing. He considers drug supply to be a national security and public health issue.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Americans are still spending money

Source: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans spent more money at stores and restaurants in 2020 than they did in 2019 — even in the face of a devastating global pandemic that shut down broad sectors of the economy.

Why it matters: The monthly retail sales report this morning came in well below expectations, and showed consumer spending falling on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Total expenditures were still higher in December 2020 than they were a year previously, however.