The U.S. House of Representatives adopted a resolution Friday to block new regulations that established federal oversight of Internet service providers.
Republicans framed the 240-170 vote as a blow to an ever-expanding list of regulations issued by President Barack Obama's administration, which they say stifles business and is slowing the nation's economic recovery.
The resolution would overturn the so-called Net-neutrality rule approved by Democratic members of the Federal Communications Commission in December over the objections of Republican members.
"These regulations give the government unwarranted authority to control broadband networks, which ultimately will hinder a thriving industry, harm competition and stifle innovation," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) said in a written statement. "Under Republican leadership, the House is focusing on ending anti-growth government regulations."
Democrats and Web content companies countered that the regulations are needed to prevent the potential problem of service providers imposing limits on download sizes or varying charges based on bandwidth use.
"These standards were a step in the right direction, but standing alone, the rules are not sufficiently clear, consistent or firm to effectively protect consumers and innovative freedom," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said about the FCC regulations. "But that's not reason to eliminate them; it's reason to strengthen them."
The resolution to block the FCC rules requires a simple majority to pass each chamber of Congress, and legislative rules prevent members of Congress from amending or filibustering it. The Senate may soon consider the anti-regulation measure, according to supporters, despite opposition by Senate Democratic leaders and a veto threat by Obama.