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FCC at odds over net neutrality vote

13 April 2019

The House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday to restore net neutrality protections repealed by President Donald Trump's Federal Communications Commission in a controversial move more than a year ago.

The Save The Internet Act would repeal FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's 2017 order, bar the agency from reinstating it, and reinstate the 2015 net neutrality order.

"Today's bipartisan vote by the House of Representatives to pass the Save the Internet Act reflects the overwhelming public consensus that strong net neutrality consumer protections are vital for the internet ecosystem and the digital economy".

Senate Republican leaders oppose the bill and the White House has pledged to veto the measure if it makes it to the president's desk. Senate Majority Leader and apparent slow internet fan Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has already said the bill is "dead on arrival" in the Senate.

Ian Walters, communications director for the American Conservative Union (ACU), told Townhall in an interview Monday that net neutrality doesn't so much ensure freedom from bandwidth and content restrictions by Internet service providers as it puts government in control of the World Wide Web. This bill would force the FCC to regulate the internet in the same way it regulates TV for example.

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Republicans have said the bill would open the door to the FCC imposing rate regulations or adding taxes to internet service similar to levies on cable or phone bills. Their legislative effort gets right what the FCC got so wrong. As such, it could prove an important issue in the 2020 election. Even some Democrats acknowledged that the prospects of restoring net neutrality rules in the current political climate remains unlikely.

Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, argued the Democratic-backed bill could lead to a bipartisan dialogue. "Additionally, the court may decide whether the FCC decision would pre-empt any state laws on net neutrality".

"I don't know if they'll pass this bill", he said in an interview.

Net neutrality advocates embarked on their campaign to restore the government's rules nearly as soon as Pai finished his repeal. Oral arguments in the case, Mozilla versus the FCC, were heard in February.

FCC at odds over net neutrality vote