Schumer blames congressional GOP for net neutrality repeal

Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y) is blaming congressional Republicans for the repeal of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) net neutrality rules, a shift which goes into effect Monday.

In a statement, Schumer said that House Republicans could have prevented the regulations on internet service providers (ISPs) from being rolled back by taking up legislation that passed the Senate last month.

{mosads}“By refusing to bring up the Senate-passed resolution to restore net neutrality, which passed the Senate by a powerful bipartisan vote, House Republican leaders gave a green light to the big ISPs to charge middle-class Americans, small business owners, schools, rural Americans, and communities of color more to use the internet,” Schumer said.

The FCC’s decision to repeal the Obama-era consumer protections ended prohibitions against ISPs discriminating against web traffic or creating so-called internet fast lanes.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai (R) wrote in an op-ed Monday that consumers will still be protected under the new framework. The new rules give the Federal Trade Commission the authority to police the broadband industry, which he says is better equipped to protect an open internet.

But net neutrality supporters say that without the rules, the industry will be able to wield an alarming amount of influence over the internet.

“The American people know they cannot trust their internet service providers to do the right thing and protect a free and open internet unless there are strict rules in place,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who introduced the bill that would reinstate the rules, said in a statement Monday.

Most agree that it’s unlikely that internet users will see any big changes in the near future. The industry has largely promised not to block or throttle websites in the absence of the rules, and the repeal order is still facing a legal challenge from a coalition of net neutrality supporters.

Still, widespread support for the rules has prompted a movement at the state level to come up with laws and rules to fill the void left by the FCC.

And Democrats are championing the Markey bill, which passed the Senate with the help of three Republicans last month. But it will be much harder for it to reach the floor of the House.

With the midterm elections approaching, Democrats are hoping to place the blame for the rollback on GOP members who aren’t supporting the bill.

“It’s now as clear as day to every American that — with the exception of three Republicans in the Senate — their Republican representatives in the Congress chose to protect special interests and the biggest corporates over middle-class families, average consumers, entrepreneurs and anyone who relies on the free and open internet,” Schumer said. “Every Republican who opposed this vote will own any and all of the damaging consequences of the FCC’s horribly misguided decision.”

Tags Chuck Schumer Ed Markey Nancy Pelosi
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