The U.S. Senate will hold a vote on net neutrality — albeit a symbolic one. Less than a month after the Federal Communications Commission reversed Obama-era rules that prohibited web companies from obstructing or slowing down certain sites, or accepting payment for faster service, Democratic senators have actually gathered enough support to require a vote to block the changes from taking effect.
The Democrats, led by Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, are using a lorry referred to as a Congressional Review Act, or CRA, which is essentially an official form of displeasure of the FCC’s action. If passed, it would block the commission’s new rules. If 30 senators require a CRA, they can make the entire Senate vote on it. Claire McCaskill ended up being the 30th senator to obtain behind Markey’s move. None are Republicans.
To work, the CRA would require bulk votes in both houses, in addition to sign-off from the president. Provided that Republicans have almost unanimously supported the FCC’s brand-new rules, the prospects for the CRA are dim. But in this case having a vote is the whole point. Democrats are eager to make net neutrality a political problem, and they desire Republicans on-record taking a position they’re convinced will be undesirable. The pro-net neutrality group Defend the Future said last week it plans to rally opposition to any legislator who votes versus the act.
The timing of a vote is still up in the air. The FCC’s rules initially need to be published in the Federal Register, offering Markey 60 legislative days to require a vote on the CRA. In the meantime, net neutrality supporters are also pursuing lawsuits and state laws.