The Senate Will Vote on Whether or Not to Save Net Neutrality

17 May, 2018, 00:59 | Author: Marie Harrington
  • Senate Passes Measure Repealing Net Neutrality Rules

The 52 to 47 vote margin in the Senate was larger than expected with three Republicans - John Kennedy, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins - voting with 47 Democrats and two independents to reverse the Trump administration's action. It is not clear if the U.S. House will vote at all on the measure while the White House has said it is opposed.

"Every House member in OH, I assume, will hear from thousands, if not tens of thousands of their voters, their constituents, saying 'Stand with us, '" said Brown, who addressed the Akron Press Club last Friday. The House won't pass it and Trump would veto it, Thune said.

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". Senate Democrats used the powers granted to the legislative branch under the Congressional Review Act to potentially overturn regulations created by federal agencies, like the FCC's decision to end requirements for net neutrality. And they've been pushing measures in the states that would offer net-neutrality protections within their borders. Senator Ed Markey of MA argued that "net neutrality is the free speech issue of our time", according toArs Technica. Edward Markey, D-Mass., who is leading the CRA effort, said on the Senate floor Wednesday morning.

A CRA needs a simple majority during a full vote in both houses of Congress to pass.

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ISPs have said they won't block or throttle legal websites, but have left open the potential for charging more for transport of some data.

"The Senate vote, on the eve of midterms, could have significant political effects", said Marc Martin, a telecom lawyer at Perkins Coie in Washington. "Without net neutrality, rural communities and New Hampshire businesses could be put at a disadvantage with restricted internet access and unfair practices from internet service providers". In surveys, solid majorities say they support the principle of net neutrality generally, and the FCC's rules in particular.

But the resolution also requires passage by the Republican-controlled House and president Donald Trump's signature to be enacted - an unlikely outcome before the Federal Communications Commission's repeal of net neutrality rules goes into effect next month. 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.

Broken down by political party, 89 percent of Democrats opposed the repeal, along with 75 percent of Republicans, suggesting GOP candidates will face a hard choice when it comes to publicly siding with the Trump administration or voters on the issue during what could be a hard midterm season for Republicans. They voted to uphold FCC broadband privacy regulations that Republicans repealed using the Congressional Review Act.

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