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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 Grant HatchOvernight Finance: NAFTA defenders dig in | Tech pushes Treasury to fight EU on taxes | AT&T faces setback in merger trial | Dems make new case against Trump tax law | Trump fuels fight over gas tax What sort of senator will Mitt Romney be? Not a backbencher, even day one Lawmaker interest in NAFTA intensifies amid Trump moves MORE (R-Utah), John Ensign (R-Nev.), Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnPaul Ryan should realize that federal earmarks are the currency of cronyism Republicans in Congress shouldn't try to bring back earmarks Republicans should know reviving earmarks is a political nightmare MORE (R-Okla.), Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsUnder pressure, Trump shifts blame for Russia intrusion Overnight Tech: Judge blocks AT&T request for DOJ communications | Facebook VP apologizes for tweets about Mueller probe | Tech wants Treasury to fight EU tax proposal Overnight Regulation: Trump to take steps to ban bump stocks | Trump eases rules on insurance sold outside of ObamaCare | FCC to officially rescind net neutrality Thursday | Obama EPA chief: Reg rollback won't stand MORE (R-Ala.), John CornynJohn CornynLawmakers feel pressure on guns Kasich’s campaign website tones down gun language after Florida shooting Murphy: Trump’s support for background check bill shows gun politics ‘shifting rapidly’ MORE (R-Texas) and John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneFlake to try to force vote on DACA stopgap plan Congress punts fight over Dreamers to March The 14 GOP senators who voted against Trump’s immigration framework 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.