Senate Democrats Win Net Neutrality Vote With Help of Three Republicans

Joshua Bennett
May 17, 2018

"(The Communications Act of 1934) regulations that put consumers first".

Internet activists, who have pushed people online to contact lawmakers and demand support for the CRA, have said they are optimistic the CRA vote will pass in the Senate. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), John Kennedy (R-La.), and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) are now on the fence, due to concerns over "retribution from Comcast's and Verizon's army of lobbyists", according to the net neutrality advocacy group Fight for the Future.

"Today, we show the American people who sides with them and who sides with the powerful special interests and corporate donors who are thriving under this administration", Sen. Still, those who want to see the FCC's order reversed are probably happy to take this one step at a time.

Kennedy, whose vote was closely watched as one of the few Republicans siding with Democrats on the issue, said he was ultimately persuaded to vote yes because more than 1 in 5 Louisianans lack choice in their broadband provider. "If you trust your cable company, you're not going to like my vote today".

Although the effort must now clear the U.S. House, the senator called Wednesday's vote "a major victory for consumers, for entrepreneurs, for small businesses and for rural America". The Internet was free and open before 2015, when the prior FCC buckled to political pressure from the WHITE HOUSE and imposed utility-style regulation on the Internet.

Use of the CRA used to be rare, according to The Hill, but Republicans recently made liberal use of what was once considered a relatively rare measure, using the CRA to overturn 14 regulations approved in the final weeks of the Obama presidency during the early days of the Trump administration, as Vox documented. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., who runs the Senate GOP's 2018 campaign operation and voted against the resolution.

Comcast Corp, Verizon Communications Inc and AT&T Inc have pledged to not block or discriminate against legal content after the net neutrality rules expire. And it will continue to be free and open once the Restoring Internet Freedom Order takes effect on JUNE 11th. The company voiced concerns over the FCC's decision to end "net neutrality" rules.

Markey described a coalition of Internet voters that bridge the usual philosophical party lines when it comes to government regulation. Many Republicans consider these requirements burdensome for internet providers, and that competition in an open market will allow industry players to self-govern. In their place are requirements that companies disclose how they handle data flows.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Wednesday that the solution was for lawmakers to draft net neutrality legislation "that would safeguard consumers but still prevent regulators from stifling innovation".

"It is essential that rules be reinstated through any means necessary, including the CRA, courts, or bipartisan legislation", the group said in a statement.

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