Democratic Petition in Senate Sets Up Neutrality Repeal Vote

Chairman Ajit Pai speaks ahead of the vote on the repeal of so called net neutrality rules at the Federal Communications Commission in Washington U.S

Fifty senators signed the petition to reverse the repeal of net neutrality, including all 48 Democrats, one independent, and one Republican. Washington state passed a more comprehensive net neutrality law that prohibits broadband providers operating in the state from blocking or throttling traffic and from charging companies higher fees for prioritized delivery.

Democrats collected enough signatures on a petition that forced a Senate vote to employ the Congressional Review Act, which if passed would be the first step toward overturning the FCC's action and reinstating the rules that were created to ensure the uninhibited flow of data online.

In a last-ditch effort, Senate Democrats have filed a petition to force a Congressional vote on the issue. The audio is below. With the prolonged absence of Senator John McCain due to illness, proponents believe they will win on a 50-49 vote.

Proponents now have the backing of 47 Democrats and the two independents who caucus with Democrats, as well as Republican Senator Susan Collins. If successful, a similar CRA in the House of Representatives would also need to pass before it reaches President Donald Trump.

In a statement on Thursday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who voted in favor of the rollback, noted that a free and open Internet has been in existence dating back to the Clinton administration and that the system was not broke in 2015 with the FCC applied Title VII of the Communications Act of 1934 to the Internet.

"We are now one step away from allowing the American public to see where their elected officials stand on protecting their internet service".

But even if the vote does pass, it faces stiff opposition with Republicans, who by and large support net neutrality - and the party now controls the House of Representatives. "We expect there to be some considerable momentum coming out of the Senate and 160 will quickly grow towards the 218 that we need to have a vote over there as well".

Should the vote fail, the next best hop for saving net neutrality rests in the courts, where consumer advocates are eager to show the FCC ignored standard agency procedure as it rushed to give telecom monopolies a sloppy wet kiss.

Proponents of net neutrality include consumer advocacy groups and many tech companies, such as Reddit, Tinder and Tumblr, which are backing Wednesday's "red alert" actions.

This is a mistake, and only delays concrete protections for a free and open internet.

Repealing net neutrality rules could hit rural Minnesota especially hard. And yeah, your Internet in the USA might not be so free in the future. After hearing arguments for and against using the CRA to restore net neutrality, 58 percent of voters oppose its use for this goal, and only 38 percent support it. Some of them say Congress needs to address net neutrality with legislation.

The measure, proposed under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), can not be filibustered and requires only a simple majority to pass.

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