The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee easily passed the bill by voice vote and sent it to the full committee for a vote.
There have also been previous attempts to pass privacy legislation, but they have faced backlash from tech companies that offer free services to consumers on the condition that their personal data be used for advertising. Debate over such bills centers on whether federal legislation will supersede state laws, which are sometimes more powerful, or whether individuals will be allowed to sue if their privacy is violated.
The bill’s fate is uncertain as it faces criticism from Senate Democrats, including Sen. Maria Cantwell, who argues the bill’s enforcement isn’t strong enough.
The bill’s lead sponsors are the chairmen of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Democrats Frank Pallone and Democrat Jan Schakowsky, and Republican Rep. Casey McMorris Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Gus Bilirakis.
“Today’s approval of this bill is another milestone that signals that we are moving toward our ultimate goal of creating a meaningful national privacy law,” Pallone said.