Net neutrality clings to life in big win by senate democrats – cnet npower electricity bill


But the Democrats’ victory in the Senate today is just the beginning of a legislative process to preserve net neutrality rules. The effort still faces an uphill battle in the 435-member House of Representatives, where currently only 160 Democrats have pledged support for a similar House resolution led by Rep. Mike Doyle, a Democrat from Pennsylvania.

Then there’s President Donald Trump, who also needs to sign the resolution. Trump has made no secret of his ambitions to roll back Obama-era regulations, signing 15 CRA resolutions since he took office to do just that. It’s unlikely he will sign this CRA to restore a regulation adopted under his predecessor.

"We support the FCC chair’s efforts to review and consider rolling back these rules, and believe that the best way to get fair rules for everyone is for Congress to take action and create regulatory and economic certainty," she said, according to the online newsletter Broadband and Breakfast.

But Democrats in the Senate say the momentum is theirs as they move the fight to the House. During a press conference following the vote, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of New York credited the victory to the grass roots advocacy that has led millions of people to call their senators and representatives asking them to support the CRA.

"A lot of people say they are for net neutrality," Schatz said in an interview on Tuesday before the vote. "But when you talk about specific legislation that will protect those principles, they get marbles in their mouths. We are forcing an up or down vote to guarantee a free and open internet. There’s nowhere to hide."

He called the effort to pass the resolution the beginning of a movement to take back the internet. He’s hopeful that net neutrality will be an issue used to energize millions of young people and get them to vote in the November midterm elections.

"This is a turning point in the movement," he said. He added that it was great that more than 10 million people commented on the proposal to roll back the FCC rules last year. But he said the current Republican-led FCC is the result of a presidential election Democrats lost.

Republicans like Senator John Thune of South Dakota accused the Democrats of playing politics with the vote. In a speech on the floor of the Senate, he called Wednesday’s vote a "fake" debate that his Democratic colleagues know is going "nowhere." Thune said he supports principles of net neutrality like no blocking and no throttling. And he would like to see bipartisan legislation to codify these principles into law. He had proposed such legislation in 2015, and today proposed putting aside the vote on the CRA to use that 2015 proposed legislation as a starting point in a bi-partisan bill to preserve net neutrality. He said he was "disappointed but not surprised" that Democrats rejected his offer to work on amending this legislation.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai also expressed disappointment in the vote, calling the 2015 approach to regulating the internet "heavy-handed." He reiterated his stance that eliminating the Obama-era rules will reinstate a "light regulatory" framework to the internet, which will ensure continued investment.

"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," he said in a statement. "And it will continue to be free and open once the Restoring Internet Freedom Order takes effect on June 11."

Democrats in the House are already gearing up for the next fight. Rep. Doyle from Pennsylvania, who is leading the charge in the House, said he’s hopeful that the vote in the Senate and the support of three Republicans who crossed party lines to make its passage possible, will help attract more House members to sign his petition to force a vote in the House.

Even if the resolution fails in either the House or does not get Trump’s signature, net neutrality supporters will continue the fight. Several tech companies, like Vimeo, Mozilla, Kickstarter, Foursquare and Etsy, as well as 22 state attorneys general, have already filed lawsuits to preserve net neutrality protections.

There are also more than two dozen states, including California and New York, considering legislation to reinstate the rules within their borders. Earlier this year, Washington became the first state to sign such legislation into law. Governors in several other states, including New Jersey and Montana, have signed executive orders requiring ISPs that do business with the state to adhere to net neutrality principles.