U.S. House approves net neutrality bill but faces long odds

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

The House bill faces much tougher sledding from here on in, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R. -Ky., earlier this week pronounced the bill "dead on arrival" in the Senate, and indicated it won't receive a vote.

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a pro-net neutrality bill largely on party lines.

The White House said Tuesday aides would recommend President Donald Trump veto the bill, which would reinstate rules barring providers from blocking or slowing internet content or offering paid "fast lanes". In addition, the bill would restore the FCC's authority to regulate and oversee broadband networks. Democrats say the bill is essential to ensuring the government enforces rules that prohibit improper conduct by internet providers and guarantee Americans access to an open internet. The bill won approval by a vote of 232-190, and nearly entirely along partisan lines, with one Republican supporting the measure. Four Democrats and six Republicans decided not to cast a vote.

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Republicans called a bid to restore internet protections akin to a "government takeover of the internet" and said it would open the door to the FCC eventually setting internet rates or imposing new taxes on internet service similar to levies on cable or telephone service. Three Republicans "bucked the sysytem" and joined Democrats to pass the CRA and reverse the FCC's gut of net neutrality rules, but the then Republican-held House failed to pass the CRA. That meant there was nothing stopping ISPs from interfering with internet traffic so long as they disclosed it.

A federal appeals court upheld the 2015 net neutrality rules, while another appellate panel is considering whether the 2017 FCC order is legal. He opposed the Obama-era FCC's adoption of the net neutrality rules in 2015, and championed the repeal of most of the regulations.

Last year, under Chairman Ajit Pai, the FCC returned to the light-touch regulatory scheme that enabled the internet to develop and thrive for almost two decades by promoting internet freedom and encouraging network investment.

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