Internet governance bill advances, but Democrats wary

The bill would make it formal U.S. policy to "promote a global Internet free from government control and to preserve and advance the successful multi-stakeholder model that governs the Internet."

But the Democrats expressed concern that a person or company could use the law as a basis to sue to overturn regulations, such as the Federal Communications Commission's net-neutrality rules, which require Internet providers to treat Web traffic equally.

"What we think we are saying may not be what the court will say we said," Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the full Energy and Commerce Committee, said. He had also expressed concern that the law could undermine efforts to combat online copyright infringement, child pornography and foreign cyberattacks.

After assurances from Republicans that they would work to revise the bill before a full committee vote, Democrats agreed not to derail the markup with a slew of amendments. The subcommittee approved the bill on a voice vote, with the Democrats dissenting.