Senate Dems seek one more vote for restoration of net neutrality and Title II.
A Senate bill to restore the recently repealed net neutrality rules now has support from 50 of 100 senators and would pass if one more Republican backs the effort.
The measure has backing from all 49 members of the Senate Democratic caucus, including 47 Democrats and two independents who caucus with Democrats. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is the only Republican to support the bill so far, but Democrats are trying to secure one more Republican vote.
Democrats announced the milestone in a press release today.
“Democrats will force vote on the legislation later this year,” the party said in the announcement. “Republicans will have to choose whether to do the bidding of big ISPs and major corporations or average consumers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses.”
“Can you help us find one more Republican vote?”
Specifically, the 50 senators support a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution from Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), which would block the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net neutrality rules. That would restore the Obama-era rules in full and reinstate the related classification of ISPs as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act.
This type of resolution cannot be blocked by a filibuster, so it just needs a simple majority.
Democrats including Markey and Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) called for more Republican support on Twitter:
Every Senate Democrat has now signed on to my CRA to restore #NetNeutrality. We’re all in for a free and open Internet.
With just one more Republican vote, we can pass the CRA in the Senate. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2018/01/15/the-senates-push-to-overrule-the-fcc-on-net-neutrality-now-has-50-votes-democrats-say/?hpid=hp_rhp-top-table-main_fcc-815pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.7201aa107677 …
The Senate’s push to overrule the FCC on net neutrality now has 50 votes, Democrats say
The tally leaves supporters just one vote shy of the 51 required to pass a Senate resolution of disapproval, in a legislative gambit aimed at restoring the agency’s net neutrality rules.
The effort faces longer odds in the House, where Republicans command a bigger majority. President Trump could also veto the resolution even if it passes both chambers.
“With full caucus support, it’s clear that Democrats are committed to fighting to keep the Internet from becoming the Wild West where ISPs are free to offer premium service to only the wealthiest customers while average consumers are left with far inferior options,” US Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said today.
Republican leadership pushes weaker alternative
Republican leaders in Congress have proposed a weaker set of net neutrality rules and want to make the FCC’s deregulation of broadband permanent. As we’ve previously reported, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) is pushing an “Open Internet Preservation Act” that would ban blocking and throttling but allow ISPs to create paid fast lanes and prohibit state governments from enacting their own net neutrality laws. Blackburn’s bill would also prohibit the FCC from imposing any type of common carrier regulations on broadband providers.
“The longer this sort of thing drags out and the more it looks like Democrats might have the votes in the Senate, the harder it is to get Democrats in the Senate to work with us,” Thune said last week, according to Politico.
Thune also claimed that voters generally don’t care about net neutrality. “I think [Democrats] see it as a really hot political issue [that] gets their base kind of energized. But most people, if their Netflix works, I’m not sure what the argument is,” Thune told Politico.
Senate Democrats appear ready to make net neutrality a campaign issue in this year’s Congressional elections, and advocacy groups are pushing Markey’s resolution as the best legislative option for preserving net neutrality. The groups hope that pressure from voters will spur enough Republican lawmakers to support it.
A “vote for net neutrality” website lists all senators and whether they have supported the bill and encourages people to contact the holdouts.
“What’s become clear over the last year is that despite an intense public relations effort to pull the wool over Republican voters’ eyes in order to turn net neutrality into a partisan issue, most conservatives outside Washington aren’t buying it,” advocacy group Demand Progress said today. “No voter—whether Republican, Democrat or Independent—is happy about the prospect of monopolistic telecoms controlling what they can access online.”