Sen. DeMint introduces bill blocking net neutrality, perceived FCC overreach

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) introduced a bill on Wednesday designed to block the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from imposing net neutrality and other regulations.

The Freedom for Consumer Choice Act (FCC Act) would force the commission to prove consumers are being harmed by lack of choice before it can impose new rules.

It would also force the FCC to weigh the potential cost of action against benefits while imposing a five-year sunset on FCC regulations. Rules can be renewed if they pass muster under a market-based standard.

Original co-sponsors will include Sens. Orrin HatchOrrin HatchOvernight Finance: US preps cases linking North Korea to Fed heist | GOP chair says Dodd-Frank a 2017 priority | Chamber pushes lawmakers on Trump's trade pick | Labor nominee faces Senate US Chamber urges quick vote on USTR nominee Lighthizer Live coverage: Day three of Supreme Court nominee hearing MORE (R-Utah), John Ensign (R-Nev.), Tom CoburnTom CoburnDon't be fooled: Carper and Norton don't fight for DC Coburn: Trump's tweets aren't presidential The road ahead for America’s highways MORE (R-Okla.), Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsSanders: 'What do the Russians have on Mr. Trump?' Poll: Trump controversies make him more popular among supporters More than ever, Justice must demand a special prosecutor for Trump-Russia probe MORE (R-Ala.), John CornynJohn CornynGOP senators pitch alternatives after House pulls ObamaCare repeal bill Rand Paul takes victory lap on GOP health bill Senators push Trump on defense deals with India MORE (R-Texas) and John ThuneJohn ThuneLawmakers want infrastructure funded by offshore tax reform Senate GOP hedges on ObamaCare repeal timeline Week ahead: Robocall crackdown tops FCC meeting agenda MORE (R-S.D.). 

“The FCC’s rush to take over the Internet is just the latest example of the need for fundamental reform to protect consumers,” DeMint said in a statement on Wednesday. “Congress must pass the FCC Act to protect consumer choice in media services, preserve competition that drives down costs and drives up options, and prevent the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs that the free market Internet economy has created.”

A statement from Hatch added, “Since the FCC has a hard time listening to the American people, we’re stepping forward with commonsense legislation to keep these unelected bureaucrats’ hands off the Internet.”

The FCC disputes it has any aspirations to “regulate the Internet.” Rather, its rules are designed to keep powerful Internet service providers in check, it says. Consumers might otherwise lack protections against the phone and cable companies that can control Internet traffic, it says.