The tension between federal and state powers over a permanent ban on Internet access taxes took the spotlight on Wednesday during House Judiciary Committee debate.

Without an extension passed by Congress, a moratorium banning state and local governments from taxing internet access, first enacted in 1998, is set to end on Nov. 1.

The bill, the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act, not only would make the ban permanent, it also would ban “multiple and discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce.”

Committee members voted 30-4 to move the bill forward for consideration by the House of Representatives, but not without debating the federal government’s power to restrict state and local government’s ability to raise taxes.

Rather than instituting a permanent ban, U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., said he had hoped to continue with a temporary moratorium that could be revisited by Congress.

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