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Senate Republicans introduce anti-net neutrality legislation
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) introduced a bill Monday to nullify the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) net neutrality rules.
"Few areas of our economy have been as dynamic and innovative as the internet," Lee said in a statement. "But now this engine of growth is threatened by the Federal Communications Commission's 2015 Open Internet Order, which would put federal bureaucrats in charge of engineering the Internet's infrastructure."
Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), and James Inhofe (R-Okla.) co-sponsored Lee's bill.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai introduced his own plan last week to curb significant portions of the 2015 net neutrality rules that Lee's bill aims to abolish. Pai's more specific tack is focused on moving the regulatory jurisdiction of broadband providers back to the Federal Trade Commission, instead of the FCC, which currently regulates them.
The FCC will vote to consider Pai's proposal in May.
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) and technology and communications subcommittee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) had previously indicated interest in brokering a net neutrality deal with Democrats.
The bill is unlikely to receive support from Democrats in the Senate.
Democrats including Sens. Ed Markey (Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and technology and communications subcommittee ranking member Brian Schatz (Hawaii) have all said that Republicans have been too far to the right on net neutrality for them to come to the table on a compromise.
A full repeal of the rules would be a worst-case scenario for Democrats.