Senate Democrats Formally Request Vote to Overrule FCC Termination of Net Neutrality

Posted on May 10, 2018

 Ars Technica reports that Senate Democrats have officially moved to initiate a vote on a Congressional Review Act resolution to overturn the FCC policy change ending net neutrality regulations. With the submission of a request to invoke the CRA, the Senate Democrats and their, at present, sole Republican ally, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), have ensured a vote on a resolution of disapproval in the Senate before the June 12 deadline to do so. Allies of the pro-net neutrality Senate coalition believe the vote is most likely to be held sometime next week.

While the Senate Democrats are still soliciting other potential Republican supporters, the Ars Technica piece points out that 50 votes may be enough to pass the resolution in light of the medical absence of Senator John McCain (R-AZ). However, the odds of adoption in the House or Representatives appear far slimmer, as the number of House Democrats, at 193, falls far short of the 218 votes required for passage. This is to say nothing of the number of votes that both chambers would have to marshal in the likely event of a veto from President Trump.

Organizations and concerned citizens around the country today, including CCDBR, have kicked off a week of demonstrations in conjunction with the Team Internet alliance in support of those senators who have pledged their support for the CRA resolution, and to urge uncommitted senators to back the measure. The “RED ALERT” net neutrality campaign also seeks to enlist the voices of constituents and sway US House members who have not publicly backed the CRA motion to reinforce the Senate effort.

The push for a CRA resolution is not the only avenue which net neutrality defenders are pursuing, however. Governors in five states have signed executive orders mandating that internet service providers must ensure adherence to net neutrality principles for all their customers to qualify for state government contracts. Additionally, two states, Washington and Oregon, have enacted net neutrality protections in defiance of language in the FCC order prohibiting state preemption of federal net neutrality policies. Finally, 23 states have filed a joint lawsuit challenging the FCC policy change on the grounds that it is capricious, and not reflective of any substantive change in the nature of the industry to be regulated, although this effort may encounter setbacks with the resignation this week of Eric Schneiderman, formerly the New York Attorney General and leader of the collective legal action, in the face of serious allegations of sexual abuse and assault.

Notably, while Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has signed onto the multi-state suit against the FCC rule change, Illinois has neither enacted an executive order restricting ISP state contracts nor passed its own net neutrality protection bill, though one such bill is currently being considered in committee.

You can read the original article from Ars Technica here.