Nine Republican US senators yesterday submitted legislation that would prohibit the Federal Communications Commission from ever again using the regulatory authority that allowed the commission to impose net neutrality rules. The “Restoring Internet Freedom Act” would prohibit the FCC from classifying ISPs as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act and “from imposing certain regulations on providers of such service.”
The Internet “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,” Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah). said in an announcement yesterday. “That is why I am introducing the Restoring Internet Freedom Act, which would nullify [the] Open Internet Order and prohibit the FCC from issuing a similar rule in the future.”
Lee’s bill was co-sponsored by Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), and James Inhofe (R-Ok.). In the announcement, Cruz repeated his charge that net neutrality is “Obamacare for the Internet.”
The full bill text isn’t available yet, but it appears to be identical to another one proposed last year. That bill would have prohibited the FCC from issuing a new net neutrality rule “unless the rule is specifically authorized by a law enacted after enactment of this Act.” There was also an “Internet Freedom Act” to wipe out net neutrality rules in 2015.