A House Commerce subcommittee on Technology voted along party lines Thursday to halt the Obama administration’s plan to give up a major portion of US control over the functions of the internet. If the bill ultimately proves successful, it will temporarily prevent the government from passing off oversight of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, a department of ICANN, until the Government Accountability Office issues a report on the plan. Backers of the bill are concerned that if the US backs away from its current role, it will open the door to increased web censorship from oppressive regimes across the globe. "These threats are real," said subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden. "I don’t understand why it’s so onerous to have the GAO simply take a look at the proposal," the Republican said, comparing the hurried approach to the rushed passage of Obama's Affordable Care Act.
But supporters of the original move insist those fears are completely unfounded. ""There is no plan to turn the internet over to rogue governments," said Representative Anna Eshoo. She went on to blast Republican subcommittee members for slowing the measure in a desperate attempt to land a strike on President Obama. The bill — which is rather unfortunately known as the DOTCOM Act — is a "source of embarrassment to a committee that has mostly acted in a bipartisan way," Eshoo said. In the wake of ongoing NSA revelations, many countries have called for the US to lessen its grip on web governance (or relinquish it entirely). The DOTCOM Act will now head to the full Energy and Commerce Committee.