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New Net Neutrality Bill Survives House Committee Vote Unscathed

New Net Neutrality Bill Survives House Committee Vote Unscathed

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Less than a week after a new poll showed broad public support for bringing back net neutrality rules among Democrats, Republicans, and independent voters, as reported, a House committee has voted on new legislation to do exactly that—and approved the bill with no changes.

The “Save the Internet Act,” introduced earlier this month, sailed through the House Energy and Commerce Committee on an 18-11 vote. The bill now heads to the floor of the House of Representatives, where the whole House is scheduled to vote on the bill April 8.

As has covered extensively, led by Donald Trump-appointee Ajit Pai, the Republican-controlled Federal Communications Commission last year repealed the 2015 net neutrality protection instituted under the Barack Obama administration.

The rules prevent internet service providers from blocking or slowing traffic to and from certain sites, while granting others—particularly those who pay a premium price—access to an internet “fast lane.”

But at Tuesday’s hearing, representatives who challenged the new bill complained that it failed to address such issues as privacy and free speech on social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, according to an account of the hearing by the advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Michigan Democrat Debbie Dingell pushed back against the objections, however.

“We’re asking a lot of questions and making it really complicated, and it’s really simple,” she said at the hearing. “Today we’re addressing a wrong that was created by Chairman Pai when he abolished net neutrality. And he hurt millions of Americans across this country.”

As an estimated 300,000 logged in to a live stream of the hearing that was carried by dozens of sites online, only one amendment was added to the bill—but was quickly withdrawn, allowing the bill to reach the House floor in its original form, without additional loopholes that would allow telecom companies to skirt the net neutrality provisions.

Photo by snty-tact / Wikimedia Commons