House panel approves bill reinstating net neutrality rules

House Democrats advanced their flagship net neutrality bill on Wednesday, clearing the final hurdle before a floor vote next week.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee in a 30-22 party-line vote approved the Save the Internet Act, which would reinstate the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Obama-era regulations requiring internet service providers to treat all web traffic equally.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Democrats beat back more than a dozen attempts from Republicans to gut the bill with amendments throughout the bill's markup that lasted 9 1/2 hours.

GOP members pushed bills that would undercut the FCC's authority to enforce the rules and called for Democrats to come up with a compromise bill that would establish less oversight of the broadband industry.

"This, my friends, is not the net neutrality that people want," said Rep. Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenConservative groups defend tech from GOP crackdown Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Sanders unveils new Medicare for all bill with backing from other 2020 Dems | White House slams Sanders' rollout | Drugmakers, 'middlemen' point fingers on insulin pricing House votes to reinstate Obama-era net neutrality rules MORE (R-Ore.). "It's actually more government socialism and frankly it's worse."

But Democrats argued that establishing the rules without FCC oversight would be fruitless.

"We believe the expertise lies at the Federal Communications Commission," said Rep. Mike DoyleMichael (Mike) F. DoyleHouse votes to reinstate Obama-era net neutrality rules House panel approves bill reinstating net neutrality rules House Dems plan April vote on net neutrality bill MORE (D-Pa.). We believe they need to be the cop on the beat. And we believe they need to have the flexibility to address issues that may come down the road that we don't know about today."

The party has rallied around the bill as an answer to the Trump FCC's repeal of the rules in 2017. Democratic leaders have scheduled a floor vote on the bill next week, and it is widely expected to pass.

But it faces long odds in a Republican-controlled Senate. The GOP has argued that the 2015 rules were too burdensome and largely resisted efforts to overturn the repeal. 

Updated at 7:24 p.m.