Republicans React to Obama’s Net Neutrality Proposal: ‘Obamacare for the Internet’

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas Tony Gutierrez/AP

One Republican senator's comment follows President Obama's support of using new regulations to preserve net neutrality.

Sen. Ted Cruz on Monday likened President Obama's newly announced plan to preserve net neutrality to Obama's sweeping overhaul of the health care system.

In a tweet, the Texas Republican attacked the concept of net neutrality as "Obamacare for the Internet."

Earlier on Monday, Obama outlined his plan to preserve net neutrality using the "strongest possible" rules. He urged the Federal Communications Commission to classify broadband Internet as a "telecommunications service" under Title II of the Telecommunications Act.

Broadband providers, including Comcast and Verizon, are fiercely opposed to such a reclassification, but open-Internet advocates say it is the only way to maintain the integrity of the Internet. Many Republicans are also opposed to the idea, contending it would constitute a government takeover of the Internet.

Cruz also took to his Facebook page to express his disdain of net neutrality, calling it the "biggest regulatory threat to the Internet."

"[Net neutrality] puts the government in charge of determining Internet pricing, terms of service, and what types of products and services can be delivered, leading to fewer choices, fewer opportunities, and higher prices for consumers," Cruz wrote.

Cruz has long been critical of the FCC's efforts to enact new regulations on the Internet. Earlier this year, he called on Congress to ban the agency's "latest adventure in 'net neutrality' " on grounds that a five-member panel should not decide "how Internet services will be provided to millions of Americans."

Sen. John Thune, the top Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee, which oversees the FCC and Internet issues, also blasted Obama's proposal as one that would "stifle our nation's dynamic and robust Internet sector with rules written nearly 80 years ago for plain old telephone service."

"The president's stale thinking would invite legal and marketplace uncertainty and perpetuate what has needlessly become a politically corrosive policy debate," Thune added.