Democrats plan to force Wednesday vote on net neutrality

Jason Reed  The Daily Dot

"But instead of moving forward with that approach with Republicans to draft such legislation, the Democratic leadership chose to try to score political points by pushing a resolution to undo the FCC's decision, even though undoing this decision will do nothing to provide a permanent solution on net neutrality", said Sen.

The FCC voted in December to repeal the 2015 net neutrality rules, which required companies providing broadband connections to act in the "public interest" and to not use "unjust" business practices - preventing companies like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T from creating paid "fast lanes" and slowing or blocking web traffic. If the Senate succeeds, the vote would then proceed to the House. Edward J. Markey, a Democrat from MA, is leading an effort to repeal the FCC's Internet Freedom Order and reestablish net neutrality at the federal level, highlighting, among other issues, the FTC's lack of "rulemaking authority". Currently, all 49 Senate Democrats and one Republican appear ready to force the vote.

"The internet should be kept free and open like our highways, accessible and affordable to every American, regardless of ability to pay" said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, in a statement announcing Democrats would force the vote, utilizing a rarely-used discharge petition.

"Will we stand with the American public, who understand why net neutrality is vital, or will we side with those who wish to control how we use the internet?" Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), John Kennedy (R-La.), and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) are now on the fence, due to concerns over "retribution from Comcast's and Verizon's army of lobbyists", according to the net neutrality advocacy group Fight for the Future. Bill Nelson, (D-Fla.), said.

"At Stonyfield, and at businesses across New Hampshire, we rely on an internet that provides equal access and helps us reach our customers and the farms we source from", said Britt Lundgren, Stonyfield Director of Organic and Sustainable Agriculture.

As Michael Cheah, general counsel at the video site Vimeo, told CNNMoney, the point of the rules is "allowing consumers to pick the winners and losers and not [having] the cable companies make those decisions for them". A presidential veto of a disapproval resolution can extend the waiting period before the regulation's enactment while Congress weighs an overrule. To do it, they must submit a disapproval resolution within 60 days after Congress receives the rule, excluding days when the legislature isn't in session.

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"It isn't. In fact, it's very weak". "I think one of the main reasons the ISPs want it at the FTC is that it's ex-poste [after-the-fact], rather than ex-ante [before-the-fact], and second of all, because the FTC has to deal with 100 percent of the economy, everything from prescription drugs to bleach labeling. the FTC will be otherwise occupied".

"Expect a public backlash against any ISP that degrades applications or limits access to content that its subscribers demand", Olhausen said.

The Federal Trade Commission building in Washington, D.C.

Senators are using the Congressional Review Act as a way to overturn the FCC's net neutrality decision.

Trump has said he favors the repeal.

Net neutrality opponents argue the 2015 rules stifle competition and innovation and force consumers to overpay for online services they don't use.

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