Net neutrality bill clears procedural hurdle in Senate

Alonzo Simpson
May 17, 2018

Senate Democrats are now whipping up this base ahead of a phony vote on Wednesday, and the ironies are many.

The Obama-era regulations, which also cleared the FCC on a narrow vote, required companies providing broadband connections to act in the "public interest" and to not use "unjust" business practices - preventing companies like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T from creating paid "fast lanes" and slowing or blocking web traffic. Edward Markey, D-Mass., during debate over the resolution.

The Senate approved a resolution Wednesday to nullify the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rollback, dealing a symbolic blow to the FCC's new rule that remains on track to take effect next month.

"Today the Senate took the most important vote on the internet in its history and the American people won", he told reporters. It requires signatures from a majority of the House, or 218 members. The House, with a large GOP majority, is unlikely to bring the measure up for a vote. Richard Neal, D-Springfield; Bill Keating, D-Boune; Niki Tsongas, D-Lowell; Katherine Clark, D-Melrose; and Seth Moulton, D-Salem. "Will we stand with the American public, who understand why net neutrality is vital, or will we side with those who wish to control how we use the internet?"

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.

What is the net neutrality CRA?

Republicans like Rep. Scott Taylor of Virginia think Democrats are wrong on the policy of net neutrality, and that eliminating FCC rules will expand competition and consumer choice.

Senator Brian Schatz speaks at the Democratic of Hawaii's unity breakfast held at the Dole Cannery Ballroom. 14 aug 2016
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz has been a vocal advocate within his party for net

The clock began running in earnest last week.

At a press conference following the Senate vote, Doyle announced that he would also open a discharge petition in an effort to force a vote on the issue.

Net neutrality supporters note that 15 Republicans crossed the aisle in March 2017 on another internet issue. Thus far, its drawn far less than majority support in the House of Representatives. The number of senators who have declared their support for the measure that would restore the rules is 50 - one shy of the majority needed to pass it. All 49 lawmakers who caucus with the Democrats and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Me., joined Democrats in voting to overturn the FCC's controversial decision. Democrats think the fight to restore the rules could be a political victor during November's congressional midterm elections even if the effort is unsuccessful because it will force Republicans to vote against reinstating the rules.

Senate Democrats won a vote to preserve net neutrality regulations, a victory for a measure that still faces obstacles to becoming law but could appeal to young voters and boost the party in mid-term elections.

Now 161 lawmakers in the House have voiced support for the CRA.

"Rural communities and businesses depend on an open internet that enables us to reach our customers and to thrive", said Roger Noonan, New England Farmer's Union President and farmer from New Boston.

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