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 CollinsHere are the Senate Republicans who could vote to convict Trump Giffords, Demand Justice to pressure GOP senators to reject Trump judicial pick Senate confirms eight Trump court picks in three days 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. DoyleDemocrats demand FCC act over leak of phone location data Hillicon Valley: Google, Reddit to testify on tech industry protections | Trump joins Amazon-owned Twitch | House to vote on bill to combat foreign interference Reddit, Google to testify before House panel on tech's legal protections 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 TrumpLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Democrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Warren says she made almost M from legal work over past three decades 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 MarkeyThere's a lot to like about the Senate privacy bill, if it's not watered down Trump administration drops plan to face scan all travelers leaving or entering US Advocates hopeful dueling privacy bills can bridge partisan divide 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 SchumerOvernight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson — Democrats call on Supreme Court to block Louisiana abortion law | Michigan governor seeks to pause Medicaid work requirements | New front in fight over Medicaid block grants House, Senate Democrats call on Supreme Court to block Louisiana abortion law Why a second Trump term and a Democratic Congress could be a nightmare scenario for the GOP MORE (N.Y.), House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing White House, Democrats strike tentative deal to create Space Force in exchange for federal parental leave benefits: report Trump: Fox News 'panders' to Democrats by having on liberal guests MORE (Calif.) and Rep. Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneKey House and Senate health leaders reach deal to stop surprise medical bills Overnight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson – House progressives may try to block vote on Pelosi drug bill | McConnell, Grassley at odds over Trump-backed drug pricing bill | Lawmakers close to deal on surprise medical bills Key negotiator says deal close on surprise medical bills legislation 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.