The House of Representatives voted Friday afternoon to repeal the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality regulations.
The Republican-supported legislation passed by a vote of 240-179, with six Democrats and two Republicans bucking their parties.
During debate, Michigan Republican Rep. Fred Upton, who chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee, said that “the Internet is not broken, and this bill will ensure that the FCC will not break it.”
Oregon Republican Rep. Greg Walden, the legislation’s sponsor, argued that the repeal of net neutrality was needed because “Congress has not authorized the Federal Communications Commission to regulate the Internet.”
California Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman, who formerly chaired the Energy and Commerce Committee, said that the Congress “shouldn’t be wasting time on this legislation when there’s a threat our whole government is closing down.”
Waxman said, “This is a bill that will end the Internet as we know it and threaten the jobs, investment and prosperity that the Internet has brought to America.”
Timothy Karr of the net neutrality-supporting group Free Press released a statement in reaction to the vote. “This is not a symbolic congressional exercise,” Karr wrote, “it’s a scorched-earth campaign that leaves Americans at the mercy of a corporate cartel.”
Karr wrote that if the Senate does not block the legislation, “the FCC would be barred from enforcing its already weak Net Neutrality rule, and from acting in any way to protect Internet users against corporate abuses by AT&T, Comcast and Verizon.”
President Obama has pledged to veto the legislation if it does pass the Senate. Net neutrality regulations are strongly supported by FCC chairman Julius Genachowski.