House Dems, GOP spar over FCC's net-neutrality rule

They also argued that consumers can more effectively punish ISPs than the government can, and several noted that there have been very few consumer complaints that warrant government intervention.

But Democrats charged that Republicans were overreacting to the FCC rule, which they said is designed to ensure that ISPs cannot discriminate against content for any reason. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) said that while there were some initial fears that the FCC might overreach its bounds with its rule, this did not happen.

"I think that we're here because of a knee-jerk reaction of the opposition that might have been initially opposed to some of the overarching rules that were initially proposed before the FCC, but we've come a long way since then," he said. "This feared takeover of the Internet didn't occur, overarching rules didn't occur, most of the broadband providers support the direction of the FCC."

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) disputed this assessment of the net-neutrality rules, saying the regulations would effectively give the government the power to dictate content.

"Net neutrality is the federal government stepping in and saying, 'we're going to come first, we're going to assign priority and value to content,' " she said. "It basically is the Fairness Doctrine for the Internet."

But Polis disputed this, and noted his own opposition to the Fairness Doctrine.

"The FCC's rulemaking on net neutrality moved forward and fostered that very dynamic marketplace of ideas that the Fairness Doctrine is contrary to," he said.

"If we do not have some sort of net-neutrality regime in place, there will be selective censorship of the Internet and we risk the Internet deteriorating into a series of tiered structures. Whether they are tiered economically or ideologically, the great human accomplishment that is the one common Internet will simply cease to exist as such."