A congressional effort pushed by big online companies to promote net neutrality through an obscure legislative tool ignores a simple truth: It will not permanently protect a free and open Internet and will continue to leave many rural and minority residents in California on the wrong side of the digital divide. Rather than spending time on a legislative Hail Mary with virtually no chance of becoming reality, Congress should develop a comprehensive bill that levels the Internet playing field and expands access for all Americans.

Following the December vote by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to repeal Title II regulations on the Internet, some lawmakers proposed repealing the order by using a device called the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The Internet CRA gives Congress the power to nullify rules enacted by federal agencies and requires only a simple majority to pass it — making it immune to filibusters and congressional debate.

Prior to 2017, the CRA had only successfully been invoked once. While it has recently been used to repeal a handful of Obama-era rules, it has never been used to establish substantive policy that would affect virtually every American.

Despite claims that the Internet CRA would restore net neutrality, it would actually do nothing to strengthen protections for consumers and expand opportunities for all Americans to participate in a truly open Internet. Even in the unlikely event that the Internet CRA passed Congress, the Trump administration would likely respond by issuing a new set of rules, thus prolonging today’s ping-pong regulatory cycle and leaving an uncertain future for Californians and broadband providers.

Worse, the Internet CRA would simply reinstate Depression-era Title II rules that have not created the open Internet’s engine of opportunity with a level playing field that proponents envisioned. Placing the Internet back under Title II rules would also curb the critical infrastructure investment necessary for connecting more Americans to high-speed broadband, including nearly 2 million California residents — about 20 percent of the state’s population— who live in rural communities that are difficult and costlier to connect.

Moreover, today’s Internet is dominated by huge multinational content providers, just five of which gobble up 80 percent of the revenue produced on the net — and a CRA would worsen this trend. Examples of low-income and diverse entrepreneurs competing head to head with these companies and winning are far too rare. The fact is that today’s leading Internet edge providers such as Google and Facebook, which are as dominant in their industry as some of the titanic monopolies of the Industrial Age, are also some of the least diverse companies in America. For example, Hispanics comprise just 4 percent of Google’s workforce. So why the rush to reinstate regulations that largely favor their business model over everyone else’s?

The Internet has changed the way businesses operate, created jobs and opened doors to new economic opportunities.  But the Internet ecosystem has become dominated by some of the wealthiest companies, while rural and diverse communities are largely being shut out. We need to ensure more Americans can be active participants in this growing Internet economy, which is why a fast-track legislative gimmick that sidesteps congressional hearings is the wrong way to establish such significant and far-reaching policy.

Unlike the Internet CRA, a comprehensive legislative approach can make net neutrality the law of the land while ensuring a genuine level playing field that benefits all Americans and gives all of our rural and diverse communities a chance to participate.

Congress has an opportunity right now to forge a strong net neutrality bill that works for everyone. But to accomplish that goal, all those who support net neutrality need to set aside the caustic rhetoric and help forge a permanent legislative path toward a free and open Internet that protects our privacy and benefits Californians and all Americans.