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Dems introduce legislation to stop FCC net neutrality repeal

Dems introduce legislation to stop FCC net neutrality repeal
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Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday introduced legislation in both chambers of Congress to reverse the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) repeal of net neutrality rules.

The Senate legislation has the support of 50 lawmakers, including one Republican, Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTrump's NASA nominee advances after floor drama Family, friends mourn death of Barbara Bush Amid struggle for votes, GOP plows ahead with Cabinet picks MORE (Maine), meaning it is just one vote shy of the necessary number to pass in the upper chamber under rules that prevent a filibuster.

Even if Democrats could get support from one more GOP senator, a resolution to preserve the Obama-era net neutrality rules faces a steep uphill battle in the House. 

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Rep. Mike DoyleMichael (Mike) F. DoyleHouse Dems, GOP clash over internet 'fast lanes' Live coverage: Zuckerberg faces second day on Capitol Hill House Dems press FCC Republicans over CPAC appearance MORE (Pa.), the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, said his net neutrality legislation has the backing of 150 lawmakers in the House. Still, if Democrats won over a majority in the House, President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Dems add five candidates to ‘Red to Blue’ program White House notifies Russia that no new sanctions are coming: report Senators push HHS to negotiate lower prices on opioid overdose reversal drug MORE is not expected to sign such a bill.

The clock is also ticking on the timeline for a net neutrality resolution. Democrats have a 60-day window to use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to scrap with a simple majority the FCC’s order to end net neutrality rules, which started last week after the order was officially published in the Federal Register.

Despite stacked odds, Democrats are still pushing forward to keep the rules.

“We are just one vote away in the Senate from overturning the FCC’s terrible decision on net neutrality,” Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeySenatorial attack on the First Amendment Senators demand info on unusual surveillance activity in DC Overnight Tech: Dem FCC commish stepping down | Lawmakers clash over internet 'fast lanes' | Tech giants vow not to help government cyberattacks | Tax filers to get extension after IRS tech troubles MORE (D-Mass.) said to applause during a net neutrality press conference he held on Tuesday morning.

The Massachusetts senator was flanked at the event by top Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerCorker won’t campaign against Democrat running for Tennessee Senate seat Family, friends mourn death of Barbara Bush James Comey’s history of misconduct  MORE (N.Y.), House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiThe Hill says goodbye to 50 Most Beautiful Koch network releases ad pushing for bipartisan 'Dreamers' deal House consumed by leadership races MORE (Calif.) and Rep. Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneOvernight Tech: Dem FCC commish stepping down | Lawmakers clash over internet 'fast lanes' | Tech giants vow not to help government cyberattacks | Tax filers to get extension after IRS tech troubles House Dems, GOP clash over internet 'fast lanes' Top House, Senate Dems warn administration on short-term insurance MORE (N.J.), the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“And when we take this vote on the Senate floor, every one of my colleagues will have to answer this question: ‘Whose side are you on? Do you stand with hardworking American families for whom the internet is essential? Or do you stand with the big money, corporate interests and their army of lobbyists?” Markey said.

He and other Democrats say that they want to make net neutrality a 2018 election issue if they can’t beat back the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality.

“Democrats will be making net neutrality a major issue in the 2018 elections, and we will win,” Schumer said at the press conference.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) alleged that in scrapping net neutrality regulations, Republicans leading the FCC broke the law.

“If they continue to break the law, we will take them to court, he said.

Net neutrality legal battles are already beginning to play out. Immediately after the rules were published in the Federal Register last Thursday, several state attorneys general and technology companies such as Vimeo and Mozilla re-filed lawsuits to preserve the rules.

On the opposite side of the battle, broadband companies and their lobbying groups sharply criticized Democrats’ legislation on Tuesday.

“[The CRA] delays us from really providing consumers some basic protections on the internet,” Bob Quinn, AT&T senior executive vice president of external and legislative affairs, wrote in a blog post.

“This CRA would be a step backwards,” Broadband for America said in a statement. “Everyone agrees that preserving a free and open Internet for the future is an important goal, but Broadband For America does not believe that such a significant policy issue should be decided by an obscure legislative device that bypasses congressional debate and important input from the public.”

Companies like AT&T and groups like Broadband for America argue that the net neutrality rules are an example of excessive regulation and have inhibited investment in broadband in the U.S.

Updated at 2:28 p.m.