• House GOPers Try to Block Net Neutrality
  • April 21, 2015
  • Law Firm: McDonald Hopkins LLC - Cleveland Office
  • This week, a group of House Republicans introduced legislation aimed at blocking the Federal Communications Commission's net-neutrality regulations.

    The measure, authored by Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) would take advantage of a procedural fast-track under the Congressional Review Act, allowing it to bypass Democratic opposition in the Senate. It would need only a simple majority to pass, instead of the usual 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster.

    But it would still face an almost certain veto from President Obama. Other attempts to fast-track repeals of regulations in the past have largely been unsuccessful.

    The push for a clean repeal of the agency's Internet regulations comes as other Republicans focus instead on trying to craft a bipartisan compromise on the issue. Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), and House Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) are working on a bill that would enact net-neutrality protections, while also curbing the FCC's powers. None of those lawmakers are backing the Collins measure.

    Thirteen Republicans have signed on as cosponsors, including House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, and Reps. Bob Latta and Steve Chabot. Collins said he has discussed the proposal with House leaders and expects that a Senate counterpart will soon be introduced.

    The FCC enacted the rules in February, and they were published in the Federal Register on Monday. Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress will now have 60 days to consider the resolution of disapproval. After that period, Congress could still try to repeal the rules, but they would no longer be able to fast-track the measure over Democratic opposition.

    The FCC's rules aim to ensure that users can access whatever legal online content they want. They bar Internet providers from blocking websites, throttling traffic, or creating special "fast lanes" for sites that pay. Critics consider them an unnecessary government takeover of the Internet that will stifle investment in the industry.