In a move that Don Quixote would appreciate, the Democrats are going to force a vote in the Senate to overturn the widely disliked FCC ruling that repealed the net neutrality rules enacted in 2015 by President Obama’s administration.
Schumer’s move is a grand gesture with little chance of success because even if the Democrats eke out a win in the Senate, the deck is very much stacked against repeal in the House, where the Republicans have a sizable majority over the Democrats.
In the Senate, several Republicans have indicated they would roll back the FCC’s repeal of Net Neutrality, including Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). Since the Democrats have at least 48 votes, that could make a difference.
— Watch CTV News (@WatchCTVNews) December 15, 2017
The vote to try and repeal the Republican’s move to give big companies power to control internet traffic was devised by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) in a way that subverts Republican control of the Senate.
Schumer is using the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which allows Congress to vote by a simple majority to repeal rules created by a federal agency.
Normally, any vote must be approved by the Senate Majority Leader, which is currently Mitch McConnell (R-KY). However, by using the CRA, Schumer can sidestep McConnell, who would stop the vote if he could. He is expected to nonetheless instruct Republicans to vote against the repeal effort.
“It’s in our power to do that and that’s the beauty of the CRA rule,” said Schumer.
The irony is that the Republican majority in Congress has frequently used the CRA rule to eliminate Obama-era regulations, especially those that protect the environment or call for action to reverse global warming.
“Sometimes we don’t like them when they used it to repeal some of the pro-environmental regulations,” said Schumer, “but now we can use the CRA rule to our benefit, and we intend to.”
Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) joined with Schumer and 17 other Senators to sponsor the repeal bill, which Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) is introducing in the House.
“Our Republican colleagues have a choice – be on the right side of history and stand with the American people who support net neutrality,” said Markey, “or hold hands with big corporations who only want to increase their profits at the expense of consumers and our economy.”
Recent history shows that Republicans will be on the wrong side of history, no matter how popular net neutrality might be with most Americans.
Just like in the #GOPTaxScam & now on #NetNeutrality the Trump administration is picking CEOs over citizens, thwarting the desires of millions of Americans who sent comments to the @FCC asking that they #SaveNetNeutrality.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) December 14, 2017
Killing net neutrality is popular with giant phone companies who spend big on lobbyists to convince government officials that they will be happy to protect consumers in their own way, and profit from it.
In the coming years, when your Internet speed is slowed down by a broadband provider who prefers you use its service, app, program or content, remember which party was on your side of history.