Republicans are not happy about the administration’s plan to rewrite net-neutrality rules aimed at ensuring free and equal access to the Internet and will introduce a bill soon to block the effort.
The Federal Communications Commission announced Wednesday that it plans to reinstate rules that would restrict Internet providers from blocking websites or charging sites like Netflix an extra fee for faster service. The announcement comes one month after a federal court struck down the commission’s net-neutrality rules but upheld its authority to regulate the Internet.
Top Republicans called the FCC’s efforts to revive net-neutrality rules “a solution in search of a problem,” and plan to fight any new rules. Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee will introduce legislation in the coming weeks to block what she calls the “socialistic” proposal.
“Federal control of the Internet will restrict our online freedom and leave Americans facing the same horrors that they have experienced with HealthCare.gov,” Blackburn said in a statement.
Blackburn’s bill will likely be more symbolic than substantive, as was a bill introduced by Democrats in early February aimed at restoring net-neutrality rules. The Republican bill would not pass in the Senate, while the Democratic bill would never make it through the House. Rep. Anna Eshoo, author of the Democrats’ bill, recently admitted the bill had no chance of passing.
The effort also leaves the FCC sharply divided, with both Republican commissioners opposing the plan.
“Today’s announcement reminds me of the movie Groundhog Day,” Commissioner Ajit Pai said in a statement. “I am skeptical that this effort will end any differently from the last.”
Republicans have long said net-neutrality regulation stifles innovation and oversteps the FCC’s legal authority. Democrats welcomed the FCC announcement as an important step to protecting a “free and open Internet.”