Senate Democrats say they have 50 votes to block the Federal Communications Commission’s December repeal of net neutrality, the 2015 policy of the FCC under the Obama administration that required internet service providers to treat all data on, and users of, the internet equally.
They are still one vote short of the 51 needed to pass a Senate resolution of disapproval. If it passes the Senate, it would still need to pass the Republican-led House, and President Donald Trump would have to sign it, The Hill reported. Neither is likely to happen, however.
Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress has 60 legislative days to reverse the FCC’s Dec. 14 decision.
Net neutrality supporters need one more Senate Republican to join the current 50 senators for their resolution to pass. All 47 Democratic senators support the measure, as do the two nominal independents who caucus with them. So far, just one Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, has sided with them.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said that with “full caucus support,” the Democrats are fighting to prevent the internet from becoming the “Wild West, where [internet service providers] are free to offer premium service to only the wealthiest customers, while average consumers are left with far inferior options.”
Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., said Republicans have a “clear choice” on the FCC’s decision to repeal net neutrality: they can be on the “right side of history” and support net neutrality, or they can “hold hands with special interests who want to control the internet for their own profit.”
He added, “There is a tsunami of congressional and grassroots support to overturn the FCC’s partisan and misguided decision on net neutrality.”
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the commission is simply returning the internet to the regulatory conditions that prevailed when Democratic President Bill Clinton and the Republican Congress agreed “to preserve the vibrant and competitive free market” that made internet business flourish, long before net neutrality was first put in place in 2015.
Meanwhile, 22 Democratic state attorneys general have filed a lawsuit to block the FCC’s bid to deregulate the internet service providers, the Los Angeles Times reported.
James Gattuso, senior research fellow in regulatory policy at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal he isn’t worried about the Democrats’ attempts to overturn the FCC’s decision with their resolution of disapproval.
“While the [Democrats] are trying to build up perceived support for this, it must also pass the House and then overcome a certain Trump veto,” he said. “That’s not going happen.”