Senate Approves Measure to Reinstate Net Neutrality

17 May, 2018, 03:09 | Author: Brooke Harris
  • Senate Democrats push to block net neutrality repeal using Congressional Review Act

The Senate voted 52 to 47 with three Republicans joining all the Democrats and independents, in favor of a resolution to eliminate the Republican-led Federal Communications Commission's December gutting of earlier rules passed by Democrats. Senator Ed Markey of MA argued that "net neutrality is the free speech issue of our time", according toArs Technica.

Republicans say they back open internet principles and want Democrats to negotiate to enshrine net neutrality rules in law. "It's time for the House to act".

More promising efforts include several lawsuits against the FCC's repeal order on the charge that the policymaking process was flawed (such as accepting millions of fraudulent comments in favor of repeal).

"I haven't talked to anyone who isn't for net neutrality generically", Hoeven said.

Still, Democrats see their effort as something that will energize young voters who value unfettered access to the internet.

"This is our chance, our best chance, to make sure the internet stays accessible and affordable for all Americans", he said as the debate began.

The outcome is unlikely to derail the FCC's repeal of Obama-era rules that restrict Internet service providers' ability to slow down or speed up users' access to specific websites and apps. "Are you on the side of large internet companies, or are you on the side of American families?"

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A major objection about the rules was the FCC's decision to classify broadband as a more highly regulated utility-like service under Title 2 of federal telecommunications law. The current FCC moved to repeal them in a 3-2 vote a year ago, a move that sparked outrage and protests among many net neutrality supporters.

A House companion to the Senate measure, by Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa., has 161 co-sponsors, all Democrats.

After the vote, a group of Democratic lawmakers from the House and Senate had a news conference praising the passage of the measure in the Senate.

Net neutrality supporters note that 15 Republicans crossed the aisle in March 2017 on another internet issue.

To stop the net neutrality repeal, which is set to take effect on June 11, proponents would also have to win a vote for the companion resolution in the anti-regulation Republican-dominated House of Representatives.

"It's important Republicans have a clear and concise message to tell them why net neutrality, while it sounds good, and maybe it's even well intended, is not the right answer for them", Taylor said.

If that does manage to happen, the net neutrality rules the FCC enacted in 2015 would not be repealed next month.

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