Despite overwhelming opposition (including a bomb threat that temporarily evacuated the hearing room), and requests for delay from 18 state attorneys over concerns of a corrupted public comment process, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted on December 14 to repeal regulations protecting the free and open internet–known as net neutrality–three to two along party lines.
Without that protection, Internet Service Providers (ISP) can legally begin discriminating between web content.
Comcast, for instance, could charge Netflix customers extra for requiring more bandwidth; AT&T could decide to block access to certain websites; Verizon could decide to throttle content that may be critical of it or its subsidiaries; people’s political affiliations could be used as a pretext to slow down their connection speeds, or to block content they access altogether.
But 29 senators are behind a movement to reverse the FCC’s decision through the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which provides Congress the power to review new regulations and overrule any it doesn’t approve, within 60 congressional days.
Leading the charge are Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).
Rep. Mike Doyle (R-Penn.) supports similar legislation in the House of Representatives.
Sen. Markey said in a statement:
“Donald Trump’s FCC made an historic mistake today by overturning its net neutrality rules, and we cannot let it stand. With this CRA, Congress can correct the Commission’s misguided and partisan decision and keep the internet in the hands of the people, not big corporations.”
Both houses of Congress need a simple majority to pass a CRA resolution, and a minimum of 30 votes to bring it to the Senate floor. Only a two-thirds majority in both chambers is required to override a likely veto from President Trump.
About it, Sen. Markey said:
“Our Republicans colleagues have a choice. Be on the right side of history and stand with the American people who support net neutrality, or hold hands with the big cable and broadband companies who only want to supercharge their profits at the expense of consumers and our economy.”
Gizmodo reported only 107 of 239 House Republicans signed a letter supporting the FCC’s plan to repeal net neutrality rules.
According to a recent survey, most Americans, including three out of four Republicans, oppose the FCC’s decision.
As of last week, 19 Senate Democrats, including Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), have yet to support for Markey’s resolution.
The others are:
- Cory Booker (D-N.J.)
- Tom Carper (D-Del.)
- Bob Casey (D-Pa.)
- Chris Coons (D-Del.)
- Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.)
- Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.)
- Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.)
- Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.)
- Doug Jones (D-Ala.)
- Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)
- Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.)
- Bob Menendez (D-N.J.)
- Chris Murphy (D-Conn.)
- Patty Murray (D-Wash.)
- Bill Nelson (D-Fla.)
- Tina Smith (D-Minn.)
- Jon Tester (D-Mont.)
- Tom Udall (D-N.M.)
- Mark Warner (D-Va.)
Fight for the Future has launched a website that provides tools and sample scripts for Americans to easily contact their representatives.
Image credit: talk1075.com