House passes net neutrality repeal

A measure to repeal net-neutrality regulations passed the House on Friday in a largely party-line vote.

The resolution passed 240-179, with Democrats defending the regulations as vital to preserving Internet openness and Republicans arguing that the policy is an example of regulatory overreach.

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The repeal resolution offered by Communications subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) would prevent the Federal Communications Commission from implementing controversial rules passed in December aimed at preventing phone and cable companies from interfering with Web traffic.

The repeal measure, a Congressional Review Act vehicle, faces an uphill battle in the Senate; the White House has already issued a veto threat. President Obama made a campaign promise to support net-neutrality rules. 

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) said the repeal effort is "part of House Republicans' pro-growth agenda to give business people in this country the chance to grow, innovate and compete so that people can get back to work."

Senate Commerce Chairman Jay Rockefeller (W.Va) said he is "disappointed that House leadership wants to undo the integrity of the FCC’s process and unravel their good work."

A GOP Senate aide on the Commerce Committee said Republicans are looking at ways to quickly move the repeal measure.

During floor debate, Republicans said the regulations amount to an additional example of government overreach.

"There is no crisis warranting federal intervention," Walden said.

They also said the FCC exceeded its statutory authority when it passed the rules. 

Democrats said the regulations would create jobs by protecting the growth of Internet companies. 

"The FCC's open-Internet rule makes two simple promises," Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) said. "To consumers, that we can visit any legal website and use any online service on any device we want. To innovators, that they don't have to ask permission from the government or get shaken down by Internet access providers when they come up with a new website, device or service."