May 26, 2018

The US Senate just voted to save net neutrality

17 May 2018, 12:44 | Yvette Williams

Senate Democrats push to block net neutrality repeal using Congressional Review Act

Lindsay Chestnut of Baltimore holds a sign that reads

The FCC's new anti-net-neutrality regulation, which is set to take effect next month, eliminates those prohibitions.

Collins announced her support in January, but Kennedy and Murkowski had been undecided.

Net neutrality supporters are using a legislative tactic, the Congressional Review Act, that allows lawmakers to block an action taken by a federal agency with a simple majority vote in the House and Senate and the president's approval. And now, House Republicans will have a choice: To be on the side of the American people; or hold hands with President (Donald) Trump and his big corporate and lobbyist cronies.

The FCC, then chaired by Democrat Tom Wheeler, enacted the net neutrality rules in 2015 to prevent internet service providers from blocking or throttling legal content that users sought to access. And they've been pushing measures in the states that would offer net-neutrality protections within their borders. The FCC said in repealing it last December that it was simply restoring the "light-touch framework" that has governed the internet for most of its existence. The bill will now move to the House, where another majority vote is required, but Republicans have stronger control, with 235 members versus the Democrats' 193.

Announcing that Democrats would force a vote on the repeal of net neutrality, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of NY said in a statement, "Soon the American people will know which side their member of Congress is on: fighting for big corporations and ISPs or defending small business owners, entrepreneurs, middle-class families, and everyday consumers". "This vote is to keep net neutrality on the books and it is a major victory. for every family in America". Or will they stick to the party and leave it to be decided by a tie-breaker vote nearly certain to go in their favor? Forty-seven senators - all Republicans - voted against it. Sen.

What is the net neutrality CRA?

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"We will take a stand to protect our online economy, or we will say goodbye to the internet as we know it", said Sen. The resolution brought under the Congressional Review Act can not be filibustered, and it only requires a simple majority to clear the Senate. Ed Markey, D-Mass., the leader of the Senate effort.

Net neutrality has been championed by congressional Democrats, who hope that their support of an open internet will appeal to young voters. If Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who is now away from the Senate receiving medical attention, is not present for the vote, the net neutrality CRA could pass by a 50 to 49 vote.

The effort to maintain net neutrality protections is expected to face more of a challenge in the House, where Democrats would need more than two dozen Republicans to join them to even bring it up for a vote, according to reports.

Demonstrators rally outside the Federal Communication Commission building to protest against the end of net neutrality rules on December 14, 2017 in Washington, DC.

"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.

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