Monday, May 7, 2018

Senate Dems Looking To Resurrect Net Neutrality Rules

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) plans to file a discharge petition on Wednesday to force a vote on a bill that would nullify the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) December decision to kill the rules, which mandated that internet service providers treat all traffic equally.

The Hill reports the bill has a real chance of passing the Senate, with a vote coming as soon as next week.

Restoring the net neutrality rules has the support of all 49 minority party members, as well as Republican Sen. Susan Collins (Maine). Assuming that all senators will be on hand for the vote — an open question, since Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) health has forced him to return home to Arizona — the bill needs just one more Republican to succeed.

But the legislation faces longer odds outside of the Senate. It would take a majority of the House to force a vote, meaning 25 Republicans would need to be on board.

A University of Maryland poll in December — taken days before the FCC’s repeal vote — found that 83 percent of voters favor keeping the rules in place. That figure includes 75 percent of Republicans and 89 percent of Democrats.

But Washington Republicans are pushing back on the attempt to restore net neutrality rules, which prohibit internet service providers from blocking, throttling or discriminating against web content. Many in the GOP argue that the 2015 rules were too onerous for internet service providers, and that laws already on the books are sufficient to prevent service providers from abusing their power.

The Senate bill would use legislative authority under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to reverse the FCC’s vote. The CRA, which was seldom used before Trump came into office, allows Congress — with a simple majority in each chamber and the president’s signature — to overturn agency moves.

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