The FCC may have repealed its net neutrality protections, but the battle isn’t over yet. In fact, supporters of net neutrality in the U.S. Senate have just hit a key milestone.
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has reportedly gathered the 30 votes necessary for a resolution that would force a vote to reverse the FCC’s recent repeal of net neutrality. Under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), Congress can nullify recently passed regulations with a simple majority vote. Sen. Markey and Rep. Mike Doyle first declared their intentions to introduce the resolution in December.
Today, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) announced on Twitter that she has signed on to be the resolution’s 30th sponsor. It’s worth noting that 29 of those supporters are Democrats, and the other is Sen. Bernie Sanders — who is an independent but caucuses with the Democratic Party.
A big step toward restoring a free and open Internet: with the support of @clairecmc, we now have the 30 votes we need to force a vote on my CRA to reverse the repeal of #NetNeutrality! pic.twitter.com/gXtWQmeIJS
— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) January 8, 2018
Of course, Sen. Markey’s resolution still faces a steep uphill battle. The resolution needs all Democratic senators, and two Republicans, to vote in favor of it to pass. Even if it is approved, it’ll still need to go through the U.S. House of Representatives — where Republicans hold a larger majority of the seats. After that, it’ll reach President Trump, who seems unlikely to approve it.
Still, the CRA resolution is a symbolic move, and it’ll keep the battle for net neutrality in the spotlight. That’ll likely become important come November, since Democrats are already making the repeal of net neutrality a campaign issue in the upcoming 2018 elections.
Even if it fails in the Senate or the House, or if it’s vetoed by President Trump, there are still glimmers of hope for net neutrality proponents. There are already murmurs of lawsuits and legal challenges to the FCC’s recent decision. As far as more long-term solutions, there are bills being drafted that could reinstate some net neutrality protections — even if some of them are still pretty lax.
State legislators in Washington and California have said that they’d introduce local regulations that would introduce some net neutrality protections, but the FCC’s latest set of rules includes a ban on local legislation that’s stricter than their own, which means those bills could face legal challenges if they happen to pass.