Bill to reverse net neutrality decision heading to Senate floor


The real kicker? The FCC is calling its almost 600-page rule "Restoring Internet Freedom". But Democrats aren't ready to surrender the fight. Forcing a vote will be more hard in the House, where Republicans hold a larger majority. The odds may be long, but many Democrats think that there's a possible win in losing. The Congressional Review Act has special provisions that negate some of these procedural quirks.

Democrats say net neutrality is essential to protect consumers, while Republicans say the rules hindered investment by providers and were not needed.

Claire McCaskill of Missouri is the latest senator to sign on to the nullification effort, according to Free Press, a consumer-rights group that supports the net-neutrality rules. Millennials have flooded senators with messages defending net neutrality, and they helped elect the first Democratic senator from Alabama in 25 year, Doug Jones.

In a letter published January 5, Internet Association President and CEO Michael Beckerman says the final version of net neutrality changes, as drafted by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, "defies the will of a bipartisan majority of Americans and fails to preserve a free and open internet". There is clear evidence that the FCC went out of its way to ignore widespread public criticism of its approach but is that sufficient to invalidate the decision itself?

The IA's statement was released a day after the FCC submitted their final order. That process, which can take weeks or months, needs to play out before Congress can step in. Markey would have to wait until the FCC's action is published in the Federal Register before calling for a vote, but it is unclear when that will happen. Elizabeth Warren, fellow Democratic members of Massachusetts' congressional delegation. Odds are murkier in the House, where Representative Mike Doyle, a Pennsylvania Democrat, has said he'll introduce a companion resolution.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, backs the FCC repeal. If more than 50 senators vote for the bill, the FCC's recent vote will be overturned, and the Obama-era net neutrality rules will remain in place.

Eliminating the regulations frees broadband providers to begin charging websites for smooth passage over their networks. They know, and they've loudly said, the proposed rules would harm innovation, restrict development, create paid "fast lanes" for companies willing to shell out big bucks for unhindered and preferential treatment and would leave in the "slow" lane any company or organization (or individual) unwilling or unable to pay more for equitable service.

Look for a lot of television and internet ads that pin the end of net neutrality squarely on Republicans.