updated 11:25 pm EST, Mon February 3, 2014
No Republican support exists for the bill, unlikely to see the President's desk
In an effort to codify and restore net neutrality, Democrats in the House and Senate floated the Open Internet Preservation Act. The new bill aims to enforce the overturned net neutrality provisions that the DC Circuit Court of Appeals struck down in January. The bill is not likely to make it to a vote -- and even if it does, it will in all probability be defeated by the House Republicans.
The proposed bill is spartan -- and at two pages, one of the shortest pieces of legislation this Congress has seen. In essence, the bill simply proposes to re-institute the neutrality provisions that the appeals court vacated, and returns authority to the FCC.
"The Internet is an engine of economic growth because it has always been an open platform for competition and innovation," bill proposer and leading Democrat of the Energy and Commerce Commitee, the retiring Rep. Henry Waxman, said. "Our bill very simply ensures that consumers can continue to access the content and applications of their choosing online."
The bipartisan National Journal believes the act is doomed, and will never become law. According to its report on the proposed legislation, "Republicans are almost entirely united in opposition to the Internet rules, meaning the bill is unlikely to ever receive a vote in the GOP-controlled House."
Chairman of the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee Greg Walden (R-OR) noted that he was willing to fold the bill into a larger package of communications law, but is "vigorously opposed to any attempt to install the FCC as the traffic cop of the Internet." He added that "innovation, job creation, and consumer choice have all flourished without so-called Net Neutrality rules, and a departure from that framework would certainly put American leadership in communications and technology in jeopardy."
The bill has seven house Democrats supporting it, and five Democratic senators. No Republicans have publicly offered support to the bill as it stands.