Democrats Have 50 Votes In Senate For Largely Symbolic Resolution To Restore Net Neutrality

Net neutrality was officially killed last month, but there are still people looking to bring it back from the dead. In the U.S. Senate, 50 senators have endorsed a new piece of legislation that could override the FCC and reinstate Net Neutrality. The final numbers on the bill have left Senate Democrats one vote short of the 51 needed to pass a Senate resolution of disapproval.
FCC Ajit Pai
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

Net neutrality was a set of rules that banned ISPs from blocking or slowing websites. Those rules were eliminated in December, with those against net neutrality arguing that the rules were too restrictive for the industry. While the Republicans were largely against net neutrality, the Democrats were in support of the rules saying that they provided key consumer protection.

This new resolution wants to overturn the FCC decision and ban the agency from passing any similar measures in the future. As of now, the resolution has support of all 49 Democratic senators along with the support of one Republican: Susan Collins of Maine.

“With full caucus support,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D, NY), one of the lawmakers spearheading the effort, “It’s clear that Democrats are committed to fighting to keep the Internet from becoming the Wild West where ISPs are free to offer premium service to only the wealthiest customers while average consumers are left with far inferior options.”

Before it passes the Senate, one more Republican has to break ranks and support the resolution. Even if the resolution does pass the Senate, it would then have to go to the House for approval and then land on President Trump’s desk for it to be signed into law. Since the President has veto power, the odds of any resolution making it past his desk are slim making this largely a symbolic effort on behalf of Senate Democrats (and perhaps to get Republicans on record as voting against net neutrality, for political purposes).

Net neutrality rules originally blocked ISPs from slowing down any content and from taking money in exchange for offering larger and wealthier websites priority treatment and faster service. ISPs argued that the rules blocked them from deploying new business models. Lawsuit are pending that would challenge FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s decision to repeal net neutrality rules. The first of those suits to challenge the decision might begin as early as this month.