Senate Democrats will try forcing a Senate vote to restore net neutrality, The Hill reported today. Edward Markey of the Democratic Party, serving as the junior United States senator from Massachusetts since 2013, is spearheading the pro-net neutrality push.
“I believe that today kicks off the most important day for the internet that the Senate has ever seen,” Markey told the press.
According to The Hill, Senate Democrats consider the issue of net neutrality to be an issue of consumer protection, fairness, and morality.
“Under the Trump administration, everything is for sale. Our public lands, our privacy. Even our access to the internet,” Senator Dick Durbin told reporters.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the organization’s chairman Ajit Pai have scrapped net neutrality rules in order to protect corporations, Democrats argue, which is why they will now officially push to force a vote on net neutrality.
The FCC is an independent agency of the United States government, so the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996, could help Senate Democrats attain their goal. The CRA allows Congress to review and potentially overrule federal regulations issued by government agencies.
“I cannot think of an issue that polls so decisively on one side,” Senator Brian Schatz told the press.
According to a poll published by the University of Maryland’s Program for Public Consultation in December last year, an overwhelming bipartisan majority opposes repealing net neutrality. According to the poll, 75 percent of Republicans, 89 percent of Democrats, and 86 percent of independents, oppose the repeal of net neutrality.
The public is for net neutrality, polls have shown, so the GOP could regret the repeal from a political standpoint as well, Schatz added.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer will, The Hill noted, bring a CRA to the floor, and he does not need Republican support. With Republican Senator from Maine, Susan Collins, backing the resolution and without Senator John McCain, who is ill and battling brain cancer, the Democrats will have the votes – the resolution could pass 50-49.
As The Verge reported earlier today, tech companies like the Wikimedia Foundation, Imgur, Etsy, Mozilla, Vimeo, Reddit, Tumblr, and Tinder have started a new publicity campaign in an effort to support the upcoming net neutrality vote – the Red Alert for Net Neutrality. The Red Alert campaign is organized by activist groups Free Press Action Fund, Demand Progress, and Fight for the Future.
Nonetheless, even if a majority of the Senate votes to reverse the net neutrality repeal, a net neutrality CRA is unlikely to pass in the House – net neutrality advocates would still need a majority of the House and President Donald Trump’s signature.