The Senate voted to revive internet neutrality: This is what which means

Anna Jefferson
May 17, 2018

Senate Democrats, joined by three Republicans, pushed through a measure Wednesday meant to revive Obama-era internet rules that ensured equal treatment for all web traffic, though opposition in the House and the White House seems insurmountable.

Senate Democrats won a vote to preserve net neutrality regulations, a victory for a measure that still faces obstacles to becoming law but could appeal to young voters and boost the party in mid-term elections.

The Senate voted Wednesday to pass a measure that would repeal changes to net neutrality rules that were recently adopted by the Republican-controlled Federal Communications Commission.

Several Democratic senators pushed for the vote using the Congressional Review Act - allowing Congress to thwart agency regulations.

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The resolution will seek to overturn a rule voted on by the FCC in December that would eliminate most of its net-neutrality regulations.

Michael Copps, former FCC Commissioner and special adviser for Common Cause, said the House must "hear the strong voice of the American people demanding an open internet and saying 'No!' to the telecom and cable monopolies" and follow in the Senate's footsteps. The decision has been celebrated by campaigners, but they have also warned that net neutrality is still in imminent danger. The Senate measure needs to win a vote in the House where Republicans have a larger majority, and to get a signature from President Donald Trump, who supports the FCC's action.

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As to whether rural areas are likely to be impacted differently by the repeal of net neutrality than urban areas, Turner-Lee said that there already is a divide in access to internet service.

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This move was expected and is generally far removed from the public debate on net neutrality. Broadband providers support the general precepts of Net Neutrality including transparency, no blocking, and no unreasonable discrimination. The bill now heads to the House for a vote. Indeed, that "forced vote" might explain why two Republicans - John Kennedy of Louisiana and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska - chose to break ranks at the last minute. Instead of blocking the FCC's rule repeal, it suggested that policymakers work toward "bipartisan compromise legislation that will stand the test of time".

Republicans like Rep. Scott Taylor of Virginia think Democrats are wrong on the policy of net neutrality and that eliminating FCC rules will expand competition and consumer choice.

Republicans overwhelmingly support ending net neutrality because they want to shift regulatory power away from the federal government and toward the private market.

Pai's opponents have said the rules are a necessary consumer protection as the internet has become more vital to supporting the economic livelihoods of everyday Americans. The internet has always been and should always be free and open.

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