Democrats have put together 50 votes for a Senate bill that would reverse the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision to repeal Obama-era net neutrality rules, therefore just one GOP vote shy of passing the Senate’s 51-vote threshold.
“With full caucus support,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said, “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.”
Last Tuesday, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) became the first Republican senator to back the legislation.
“Senator Collins does not support the FCC’s recent decision to repeal net neutrality rules, and she will support Senator Markey’s legislation that would overturn the FCC’s vote,” spokeswoman Annie Clark said in a statement to The Hill.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), released a statement Tuesday celebrating the bill’s 50th co-sponsor.
“There is a tsunami of Congressional and grassroots support to overturn the FCC’s partisan and misguided decision on net neutrality,” Markey said.
“Republicans now have a clear choice — be on the right side of history and stand with the American people who support a free and open internet, or hold hands with the special interests who want to control the internet for their own profit.”
The Hill added:
The measure, if it passes the Senate, faces a murky future as it would have to pass the GOP-held House and get President Trump’s signature to go into effect.
Lawmakers have a window of 60 days from the FCC’s December 14 decision to repeal the new regulations under the Congressional Review Act. Ten senators joined the effort to roll back the FCC’s decision in just the last week, The Washington Post reports.
Opposition to the decision to end net neutrality was high in the months leading up to the decision, leading to threatening phone calls and death threats for members including FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.
“I understand that people are passionate about policy, but the one thing in America that should remain sacred is that families, wives and kids should remain out of it,” Pai said on Fox News in November. “And stop harassing us at our homes.”
States have pushed back after the net neutrality repeal, proposing bills to preserve protections and filing lawsuits against the Trump administration.
“Today’s new rule would enable ISPs to charge consumers more to access sites like Facebook and Twitter and give them the leverage to degrade [the] high quality of video streaming until and unless somebody pays them more money. Even worse, today’s vote would enable ISPs to favor certain viewpoints over others,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) argued in a statement on the decision.
“The FCC just gave Big Telecom an early Christmas present, by giving internet service providers yet another way to put corporate profits over consumers,” he added.