Net neutrality bill clears procedural hurdle in Senate

A bill that would protect the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) net neutrality rules from being repealed passed a key procedural hurdle by a 52-47 vote, clearing the way for a final vote Wednesday afternoon.

Three Republicans joined the 49 Democrats in voting to begin debate on the measure.

Democrats are forcing the vote using a legislative tool called the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which allows Congress, with the president's signature, to overturn recent decisions from federal agencies.

The Republican-controlled FCC voted in December to repeal the rules, which require internet service providers to give equal footing to all web traffic. Democrats argue that scrapping the rules will give ISPs free reign to suppress certain content or promote sites that pay them.

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“Soon, the American people will know which side their member of Congress is on: fighting for big corporations and ISPs or defending small business owners, entrepreneurs, middle-class families, and everyday consumers,” Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Finance: White House planning new tax cut proposal this summer | Schumer wants Congress to block reported ZTE deal | Tech scrambles to comply with new data rules OPEC and Russia may raise oil output under pressure from Trump The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — GOP centrists in striking distance of immigration vote MORE (D-N.Y.) said in a statement last week when announcing that Democrats would be forcing the vote.

Democrats have at least one Republican on board with the bill in Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGOP senators introduce Trump's plan to claw back billion in spending Hillicon Valley: Sweeping new data rules take effect | Facebook, Google already hit with complaints | Schumer slams reported ZTE deal | Senators look to save cyber post | Dem wants answers about Trump's phone security Senators express concern over Trump's decision to scrap top cyber post MORE (Maine). And with Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTo woo black voters in Georgia, Dems need to change their course of action Senate panel again looks to force Trump’s hand on cyber warfare strategy Senate panel advances 6B defense policy bill MORE (R-Ariz.) home fighting brain cancer, it appears that they have the numbers to get the bill through the Senate.

Sens. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiGOP senators introduce Trump's plan to claw back billion in spending Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — VA reform bill heads to Trump's desk Senators introduce bill to measure progress in opioid fight MORE (R-Alaska) and John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) also voted in favor to begin debate on the bill, a sign that Democrats may have secured their support for the actual legislation. The Louisiana Republican had been evasive about which way he'll vote, telling reporters as recently as Tuesday that he was undecided.

But getting it to the floor of the House will be another matter. House Democrats will need 25 Republicans to join them in backing the bill in order to force a vote in the lower chamber.