By Sara Jerome - 03/15/11 09:48 PM EDT
A resolution to repeal the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules passed the Energy and Commerce Committee in a 30-23 party line vote, and is now headed to the full House.
The resolution may not ultimately succeed because it requires President Obama's signature, and he supports the FCC rules.
During the markup session, Democrats, who support the regulations, argued that the repeal process is overaggressive and that the FCC policy is necessary and moderate.
"Americans overwhelmingly oppose practices which limit a free and open Internet, but Republicans have turned a deaf ear," said Communications subcommittee ranking member Rep. Anne Eshoo (Calif.).
Democrats were miffed that their attempts to amend the resolution were ruled nongermane. Committee Chairman Fred Upton (Mich.) noted that this is the normal process under the Congressional Review Act.
Communications subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (Ore.) pushed back against criticism that the subcommittee is wasting its time on a partisan topic that's unlikely to ultimately succeed.
He said he has told committee members that his subpanel will take on key issues, noting FCC reform in particular.
Pro-net neutrality groups expressed disappointment about the vote.
"It’s a shame that legislators who would nullify the Federal Communications Commission’s Net Neutrality rules ignore that big network providers would be able to block websites, give preference to others and discriminate in traffic management," said Gigi Sohn, president of Public Knowledge.