US Senate Pushes Net Neutrality Vote
US Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) has filed a petition to force a vote to overturn the Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) vote in December to repeal federal net neutrality rules. According to the rules set forth by the Congressional Review Act, Congress has the ability to overturn any federal agency policy decision, as long as they have 30 senators supporting the move. That support was gained back in January and now pro-net neutrality Senators are working on garnering the bare majority (51 votes or more) they need to pass the repeal of the repeal.
Currently, the vote stands at 50 Senators, including every Democrat and Sen. Susan Collins, R-ME. But despite the seemingly partisan split, net neutrality is a popular issue across party lines, with 83 percent of voters repealing net neutrality, including 75 percent of Republicans, 89 percent of Democrats, and 86 percent of independents. That's according to a poll of 1,077 registered voters that conducted by the Program for Public Consultation at the University of Maryland and released last December.
But one Senator isn't too worried about getting those votes.
"We've been expecting that the votes will come when the vote comes," Evan Greer, deputy director for Fight for the Future, a nonprofit digital rights group, said in a phone interview with Vice's Motherboard. "If you're a Republican lawmaker who's considering siding with your constituents on this, why would you want to paint a giant target on yourself for the ISPs to send their army of lobbyists banging down your door by announcing ahead of time?"
If the vote does pass in the Senate, it will go on to the House and then to President Trump's desk. A previous House resolution gained a lot of support, so net neutrality supporters are hopeful that it will pass there, too. Other sources call the House fight "uphill" and would "likely be vetoed" by President Trump.
"We're in the homestretch in the fight to save net neutrality," Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-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 every-day consumers."
Regardless of which way the vote goes, multiple states have already taken steps to enshrine net neutrality principles in state law. While the repeal technically forbids state laws - and if it does actually go into effect, those states will undoubtedly face lawsuits either from the FCC or big ISP or both - plenty of states are making moves, anyway. Twenty-four states currently have passed laws, have laws that are tabled, or have laws in committee to address net neutrality protections.
So the future of net neutrality is still very much in the balance. In the meantime, all eyes are at the federal level to see if the repeal will be repealed. People interested in letting their Senators know where they stand on net neutrality can participate in the "red alert" being hosted by a range of popular tech companies, including reddit, Tumblr, Foursquare, Shutterstock, Tinder, Vimeo, and Warby Parker. This form makes it quick and easy.Share this post
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