Senate Democrats have put together 50 votes for a measure meant to block the Federal Communications Commission's December decision to end net neutrality rules put in place by the Obama administration.
Democrats are just one GOP vote shy of the 51-vote threshold for a Senate resolution of disapproval, which would strike down the FCC's December rules change.
“With full caucus support,” Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats' do-or-die moment Biden touts 'progress' during 'candid' meetings on .5T plan Progressives push for fossil subsidy repeal in spending bill MORE (D-N.Y.) said, “it’s clear that Democrats are committed to fighting to keep the internet from becoming the Wild West where ISPs are free to offer premium service to only the wealthiest customers while average consumers are left with far inferior options.”
The Democrats' effort won the support of its first Republican backer, Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsCollins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid McConnell privately urged GOP senators to oppose debt ceiling hike GOP senator will 'probably' vote for debt limit increase MORE (Maine), last Tuesday.
“Senator Collins does not support the FCC’s recent decision to repeal net neutrality rules, and she will support Senator Markey’s legislation that would overturn the FCC’s vote,” spokeswoman Annie Clark said in a statement to The Hill.
The bill's sponsor, Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyWarren, Bush offer bill to give HHS power to impose eviction moratorium Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Senate Democrats ding Biden energy proposal Six Democrats blast Energy Department's uranium reserve pitch MORE (D-Mass.), also celebrated the bill's 50th co-sponsor in a statement Tuesday.
“There is a tsunami of Congressional and grassroots support to overturn the FCC’s partisan and misguided decision on net neutrality,” Markey said.
"Republicans now have a clear choice — be on the right side of history and stand with the American people who support a free and open internet, or hold hands with the special interests who want to control the internet for their own profit."
The measure, if it passes the Senate, faces a murky future as it would have to pass the GOP-held House and get President TrumpDonald TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe MORE's signature to go into effect.
Lawmakers have a window of 60 days from the FCC's December 14 decision to repeal the new regulations under the Congressional Review Act. Ten senators joined the effort to roll back the FCC's decision in just the last week, The Washington Post reports.
Opposition to the decision to end net neutrality was high in the months leading up to the decision, leading to threatening phone calls and death threats for members including FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.
“I understand that people are passionate about policy, but the one thing in America that should remain sacred is that families, wives and kids should remain out of it,” Pai said on Fox News in November. “And stop harassing us at our homes.”
Net neutrality advocates have also turned to state governments following the December FCC decision, with some states such as New York filing suit against the Trump administration over the rollback of the Obama-era rules.
“Today’s new rule would enable ISPs to charge consumers more to access sites like Facebook and Twitter and give them the leverage to degrade [the] high quality of video streaming until and unless somebody pays them more money. Even worse, today’s vote would enable ISPs to favor certain viewpoints over others,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) argued in a statement on the decision.
“The FCC just gave Big Telecom an early Christmas present, by giving internet service providers yet another way to put corporate profits over consumers,” he added.
Updated at 10:08 a.m.