Two leading senators on the Commerce and Finance committees expressed confidence Monday that a ban on taxing Internet access will be approved in the new Congress.
Sen. Ron WydenRon WydenSenate Dems move to nix Trump's deportation order DNI confirmation hearing expected on Senate return Senate confirms Mnuchin as Treasury secretary MORE (D-Ore.) said he and Sen. John ThuneJohn ThuneWhere Trump’s travel ban stands Verizon angling to lower price of Yahoo purchase: report Congress should take hands off the wheel of self-driving cars MORE (R-S.D.) have been working on the issue for years, and "now we've gotten a bit of seniority."
The 1998 Internet Tax Freedom Act was extended for a year as part of the omnibus spending bill that passed Congress over the weekend.
The law, which prevents most states from taxing Internet access, has been extended a number of times in the last decade and a half, but both senators want it to be renewed without an expiration date.
Wyden leads the Senate Finance Committee but will become the ranking Democrat next year, when majority control switches to Republicans.
Thune is slated to take over the gavel of the Commerce Committee, and is hopeful the legislation "can be considered as early as possible in the next Congress."
The House approved a ban on Internet access taxes in July. The companions bill in the Senate has 52 co-sponsors, including 34 Republicans and 18 Democrats, but stopgap spending agreements have prevented it from moving forward, Wyden said.
"Because the Congress has become too reliant — and we have certainly seen this in a number of areas — on stop and go government, it was necessary to once again pass a yearlong extension as part of a larger bill," he said.
Wyden called a permanent extension "essential to our economic competitiveness," while Thune said failing to extend it would "risk canceling out our other efforts to get more Americans online."
The two senators said they are also hopeful about passage of another bill to prohibit states from imposing multiple taxes on a digital downloads that are transferred online.