After hours of testy back and forth on Monday topped by a veto threat from the White House, the full House took up a resolution overturning network-neutrality regulations on Tuesday. A vote on the measure is expected Wednesday.
At question are Federal Communications Commission rules that prohibit Internet providers from blocking websites that use a lot of bandwidth, such as video-streaming sites like Netflix. Republicans accuse the agency of overstepping its authority and maintain that the rules are unneeded.
Tuesday’s floor debate may be the last hurrah for the GOP-backed resolution. An identical measure has been introduced in the Senate, but it is not expected to gain traction there.
Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., introduced the resolution of disapproval, which would repeal the regulations. He said in enacting the rules, the FCC made a "naked grab for power it does not have."
Other Republicans also took to the floor to portray the rules as government overreach.
“This FCC regulation is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist… using authority that the FCC does not have,” said Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Ga.
Proponents of the FCC's regulations argue that they are necessary to maintain free access to the Internet. Some House Democrats circulated a "Dear Colleague" letter on Tuesday, urging members to oppose the resolution.
"Our economy, jobs, growth and productivity depend in large part on the Internet’s vibrancy and freedom," the letter states. "Too much is at stake for a blunt up-or-down vote that affects the future of this critical technological asset."
On Monday evening, the White House said advisers would recommend that President Obama veto the resolution if approved by Congress.
“Disapproval of the rule would threaten those values and raise questions as to whether innovation on the Internet will be allowed to flourish, consumers will be protected from abuses, and the democratic spirit of the Internet will remain intact,” the White House statement read.
Net neutrality as an issue, however, isn’t going away anytime soon. The House has pressed to defund FCC implementation of the rules, and legal challenges are expected to continue.