Net Neutrality to Get U.S. Senate Vote as Democrats Force Issue
Republicans are being asked to acknowledge they support the FCC’s reversal of Obama-era rulesBy
The U.S. Senate will hold a vote on net neutrality — albeit a symbolic one. Less than a month after the Federal Communications Commission reversed Obama-era rules that prohibited internet providers from blocking or slowing down certain websites, or accepting payment for faster service, Democratic senators have collected enough support to force a vote to block the changes from taking effect.
The Democrats, led by Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, are using a vehicle known as a Congressional Review Act, or CRA, which is essentially an official form of disapproval of the FCC’s action. If passed, it would block the commission’s new rules. If 30 senators call for a CRA, they can make the entire Senate vote on it. Claire McCaskill became the 30th senator to get behind Markey’s move. None of them are Republicans.
To take effect, the CRA would need majority votes in both houses, in addition to sign-off from the president. Given that Republicans have almost unanimously supported the FCC’s new rules, the prospects for the CRA are dim. But in this case having a vote is the entire point. Democrats are eager to make net neutrality a political issue, and they want Republicans on-record taking a stance they’re convinced will be unpopular. The pro-net neutrality group Fight for the Future said last week it plans to rally opposition to any lawmaker who votes against the act.
The timing of a vote is still up in the air. The FCC’s rules first have to be published in the Federal Register, giving Markey 60 legislative days to call for a vote on the CRA. In the meantime, net neutrality supporters are also pursuing litigation and state laws.
Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE