Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Money | By Wilma Wheeler

Senate barely passes resolution to restore net neutrality

Senate barely passes resolution to restore net neutrality

The United States Senate on Wednesday voted in favor of reversing the Federal Communications Commission's recent order to end net neutrality protection in a narrow 52-to-47 victory.

At a press conference following the Senate vote, Doyle announced that he would also open a discharge petition in an effort to force a vote on the issue. The public today understands that the free flow of information online is crucial to protecting free speech and maintaining space for political movements that safeguard our constitutional rights. Republicans also argue that Democrats are playing on unfounded fears that Internet service providers will jack up costs and anger their consumer base. "It's time for the House to act". FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, part of the Republican majority, has said the Obama rule was "heavy-handed" and isn't needed.

He said the internet thrived long before the Obama administration stepped in, and he predicted that when the Trump administration's rule scrapping net neutrality goes into effect in June, consumers will not notice a change in service.

"I rise in support of net neutrality, but there are many of us who believe in codifying net neutrality, but what doesn't make sense is this legislation", said Sen.

Democratic Senators now worry that if the net neutrality rules are repealed, this will mean more discrimination against internet startups that can't pay for "prioritized access" to the ISPs' customers, even though those same customers already pay the ISPs on a monthly basis for an unfiltered and neutral internet. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said from the Senate floor on Wednesday.

The FCC decided in 2015 to reclassify internet service providers as common carriers under a 1996 law.

"Why aren't we debating a bipartisan bill instead of a partisan resolution?" he asked.

Supporters of net neutrality regulations said they hoped the stronger-than-expected Senate vote would provide momentum as the fight to retain the existing regulations moves to the House.

A similar resolution in the House, authored by Congressman Mike Doyle, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, has garnered 162 co-sponsors, all Democrats.

"I voted to hopefully get beyond the politics on this, which is the seesaw back and forth between Republican FCC and a Democratic FCC that doesn't lend any level of certainty to the process", she told reporters. But the House isn't likely to take it up.

Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., was among the Republicans who voted with Democrats on the privacy regulations. In surveys, solid majorities say they support the principle of net neutrality generally, and the FCC's rules in particular.

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