Senate passes measure to repeal changes to net neutrality rules

Muriel Hammond
May 17, 2018

Patty Murray, D-Wash. Ed Markey, D-Mass. Without net neutrality rules in place, ISPs could discriminate against certain publishers and web services, while promoting others.

The 2015 rules were meant to ensure a free and open internet, give consumers equal access to Web content and bar broadband service providers from favoring their own material or others'. The rules also prevented providers from charging users higher fees for providing faster delivery of some content.

On Wednesday, in a 52-47 vote, 49 Democrats and Republicans Sen. Susan Collins of ME, is set to pass the Senate and then be sent to the GOP-led House, where it'll likely go nowhere - and President Donald Trump is unlikely to back it. Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska, and John Kennedy, of Louisiana, for also supporitng his CRA resolution. If the measure passes the House, it will go to the President, who can veto it if he so chooses.

The agency past year eliminated Obama-era rules forbidding internet service providers from blocking or slow web traffic.

The replacement rules, which go into effect next month, have a lighter-touch to enforcement. The prior Administration's regulatory overreach took us in the opposite direction, reducing investment in broadband networks and particularly harming small Internet service providers in rural and lower-income areas.

Open-internet advocates are challenging the new rule in federal court.

Pai, the FCC chairman, expressed confidence the Democrats' effort would eventually fail. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., who runs the Senate GOP's 2018 campaign operation and voted against the resolution. The bill will now move to the House, where another majority vote is required, but Republicans have stronger control, with 235 members versus the Democrats' 193.

From left Rep. Mike Doyle D-Pa. Sen. Ed Markey D-Mass. Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y. and Sen. Maria Cantwell D-Wash. leave a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washingt

Broken down by political party, 89 percent of Democrats opposed the repeal, along with 75 percent of Republicans, suggesting GOP candidates will face a hard choice when it comes to publicly siding with the Trump administration or voters on the issue during what could be a hard midterm season for Republicans.

"By passing my CRA resolution to put net neutrality back on the books, we can send a clear message to American families that we support them, not the special interest agenda of President Trump and his broadband baron allies".

"Either we stand with everyday Americans or with the massive corporations who have found a new way to make money off of them", said Sen. Collins had previously said she supported the underlying measure.

Senate Democrat Ed Markey of MA and colleagues are forcing a floor vote to "save" something called "net neutrality".

Senate Democrats, led by Sen. Senate Democrats are now whipping up this base ahead of a phony vote on Wednesday, and the ironies are many.

"It's important that we continue to push forward even when we don't like our political chances because this is a really critical issue", said Krista Cox, director of public policy initiatives for the Association of Research Libraries. A group of 22 states have sued the FCC over the repeal. "It is unclear, as a matter of law, whether the CRA can repeal an "order" as opposed to a "rule'", he said in a statement".

Net neutrality supporters note that 15 Republicans crossed the aisle in March 2017 on another internet issue.

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