House passes net neutrality bill with no hope of becoming law

Darnell Taylor
April 12, 2019

FCC chairman Ajit Pai is certain the bill won't become law, describing it in a statement as a "big-government solution in search of a problem". "It's time for the full House to vote to keep the internet open and free, and I will work to make that happen soon".

The Writers Guild of America, West issued a statement saying it "applauds the House of Representatives for passing the Save the Internet Act and putting us back on the path to restoring net neutrality".

The net neutrality regulations were introduced under the Obama administration and later struck down by the Republican-controlled Federal Communications Commission in 2017.

Republicans tried to amend the Save the Internet bill and offered a compromise bill in the House, but both failed. Now the Save the Internet Act of 2019 will go to the Republican-controlled Senate, where it's likely to be voted down along party lines.

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The bill was introduced last month by Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Penn., and of its nearly 200 cosponsors, there was not a single Republican to be found. As the legislation now moves to the Senate for final approval, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed that it is "dead on arrival in the Senate", a stance that aligns with that of the Trump administration. The Office of Management and Budget said Monday it opposes the bill. As such, it could prove an important issue in the 2020 election. Dozens of state attorneys general, tech companies including Mozilla and a host of consumer advocates sued the FCC past year, arguing the agency had acted improperly in rolling back the Obama-era rules.

In the meantime, a slew of state governments began writing and implementing net neutrality protections of their own.

With net neutrality, some Democrats sounded an optimistic note that the House's vote - coupled with sustained public pressure from net neutrality supporters - could shift their fortunes. A law adopted in California - seen by some advocates as tougher than even the rules implemented federally in 2015 - quickly drew a legal challenge from the Justice Department in a case that's still pending.

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