Despite an FCC repeal, net neutrality apparently does not want to go quietly. As the FCC's ruling still is more than 60 days from being official, Senators seeking to overturn the controversial party-lines decision have gotten enough co-sponsors on a net neutrality restoration joint resolution to force a full Senate vote.
The resolution, which would be an amendment to the Congressional Review Act, spearheaded by Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA), needed 30 co-sponsors to get on the Senate docket for a vote. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) became the 30th name on the proposed bill today.
A big step toward restoring a free and open Internet: with the support of @clairecmc, we now have the 30 votes we need to force a vote on my CRA to reverse the repeal of #NetNeutrality! pic.twitter.com/gXtWQmeIJS— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) January 8, 2018
The one-page resolution says in part that "Congress disapproves the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to ‘‘Restoring Internet Freedom’’ and that "such rule shall have no force or effect."
Getting a vote is only part of the battle. The GOP-controlled FCC voted 3-2 along party lines to repeal the Title II provisions classifying ISPs as utilities. Republicans currently hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate, meaning two GOP Senators would need to go against the party for the vote to pass. A tie vote would likely mean the deciding vote would be cast by VP Mike Pence, dooming the resolution.
A similar resolution is being introduced in the House by Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA). The resolution there faces an even stiffer hurdle, as the GOP control that chamber, 239-193, with 3 vacancies.
And if both those pass, the final resolution needs to be signed by President Trump.
The joint resolution is only one avenue being pursued to restore net neutrality. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) has already introduced her version of a net neutrality bill that, by many accounts, falls way short of the pre-repeal Title II protections. And legal actions are also expected from several sectors, bolstered by the Internet Association, a lobbying group that represents such tech heavyweights as Amazon, Google, and Facebook.
The net neutrality repeal will not take effect until 60 days after it appears in the Federal Register. While the latest issue was posted today, the repeal is not among the FCC actions listed. A final version of the repeal order was just issued last week.