Sen. Mitch McConnell says a Democratic-led attempt to reinstate Obama-era net neutrality rules would "overregulate" the internet. The majority leader’s chamber narrowly voted Wednesday to overturn a Federal Communications Commission decision axing the online traffic guidelines.
Kentucky's senior senator went on the offensive on the Senate floor, where he characterized the Democrats’ Hail Mary pass as a partisan maneuver aimed not at skeptical colleagues, but at voters. He went on to argue repealing the FCC rollback before it takes effect in June would stifle innovation.
"It would reimpose heavy-handed, Depression-era rules on the most vibrant, fast-growing sectors of our economy," McConnell advised.
Supporters countered that the regulations, in fact, guarantee equal access to the web and stripping them away will put telecommunications giants in control of the levers of internet traffic.
"This issue presents a stark contrast: Are you on the side of the large internet and cable companies, or are you on the side of the average American family," Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said.
All 47 Democrats, along with two independents and three Republicans, were able to squeeze the bill through the Senate, but the measure faces far steeper odds in the GOP-controlled House.