Dems to force Senate vote on net neutrality bill Wednesday

Dems to force Senate vote on net neutrality bill Wednesday
© Greg Nash

Democrats will force a Senate vote on Wednesday on a bill that would save the Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) net neutrality rules from repeal.

Senate Democrats filed a discharge petition on the bill last week, starting the clock on the long-shot effort to preserve the Obama-era consumer protections.

The legislation, introduced by Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyDemocrats protest Trump's immigration policy from Senate floor Dems press EPA nominees on ethics, climate Lawmakers prep for coming wave of self-driving cars MORE (D-Mass.), would use authority under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to nullify the FCC’s vote in December to roll back the rules. Under the CRA, lawmakers can force a vote in the Senate with just 30 lawmakers on board.

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The bill currently has 50 backers in the Senate, including every Democrat plus Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate Gang of Four to meet next week on immigration Republicans agree — it’s only a matter of time for Scott Pruitt Skyrocketing insulin prices provoke new outrage MORE (R-Maine). Democrats need one more Republican to cross the aisle for 51-vote majority, but with Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainDon’t disrespect McCain by torpedoing his clean National Defense Authorization Act Meghan McCain rips Trump's 'gross' line about her dad Trump's America fights back MORE (R-Ariz.) away from the Senate as he battles brain cancer, the math might be on their side.

Democrats have long argued against repealing the rules, which require internet service providers from treating all web traffic equally.

“The repeal of net neutrality is not only a blow to the average consumer, but it is a blow to public schools, rural Americans, communities of color and small businesses,” Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMontana's environmental lobby teams with governor to kill 600 jobs Dems allow separation of parents, children to continue, just to score political points Democrats' education agenda would jeopardize state-level success MORE (D-N.Y.) said in a statement Monday. “A vote against this resolution will be a vote to protect large corporations and special interests, leaving the American public to pay the price.”

Even if Markey’s legislation makes it out of the Senate, it will have a harder time reaching the floor of the House, which requires a bill to have majority support in order to force a vote.