Dems planning net neutrality response

Democrats are organizing a response to GOP leaders’ draft legislation on net neutrality that they hope will be more bipartisan than Republicans' effort. 

Rep. Bobby RushBobby Lee RushChicago reopens dozens of cold cases with aid of computer algorithm House Dems propose billions in extra funding for environmental programs that Trump sought to cut A crucial lesson from the carnage in Sri Lanka MORE (D-Ill.) said during a hearing on a potential Internet law on Wednesday that he plans to introduce a bill “in the not too distant future.”

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“I would hope to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, with the aspiration that whatever legislation is hammered out, it will be clearly, surely, nothing but bipartisan,” he said during a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing.

Just last week, Republican leaders of the House and Senate Commerce committees released draft text of a bill to limit how Internet service providers, such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable, treat traffic on the Internet. While the bill would prevent the companies from blocking or slowing Web traffic as well as from enacting online "fast lanes" for money, it would also hamstring the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in other ways.

Republicans had long resisted any type of net neutrality rules but have been scurrying to write a bill in recent weeks to pre-empt the FCC from enacting tough regulations that reclassify the Internet so that it would be treated like a utility.

Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenHillicon Valley: House lawmakers reach deal on robocall bill | Laid-off journalists launch ads targeting tech giants | Apple seeks tariff exemptions | Facebook's Libra invites scrutiny Bipartisan House lawmakers announce compromise anti-robocall bill Key senators release bipartisan package to lower health care costs MORE (R-Ore.) warned on Wednesday that, by reclassifying the Internet, the FCC would be invoking its “nuclear option.”

“Given the choice between enacting prudent legislation or leaving the FCC to tackle this with tools unfit for the task, we choose to take action,” echoed Rep. Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonHouse passes bill to protect 'Dreamers' Thirty-four GOP members buck Trump on disaster bill Overnight Health Care: Lawmakers get deal to advance long-stalled drug pricing bill | House votes to condemn Trump's anti-ObamaCare push | Eight House Republicans join with Dems | Trump officials approve Medicaid expansion in Maine MORE (R-Mich.), the chairman of the full Energy and Commerce Committee.

Democrats have been emboldened by the FCC’s expected move to reclassify Web service next month. Many liberal lawmakers have urged the FCC to take the politically controversial step, and President Obama weighed in shortly after the midterm elections.

While Democrats said they were willing to work with Republicans on some type of legislation, they urged the FCC to proceed on schedule.

The FCC has been working on new regulations for more than a year, noted the committee's top Democrat, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (N.J.), since a top court tossed out old rules in 2014.

“Congress cannot be expected to work it all out in 13 days," he said.