Senate to Vote to Stop Net Neutrality Repeal

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Sen. Ed Markey has been working to overturn the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decision to repeal the regulations associated with net neutrality, a collection of rules that governed how internet service providers (ISPs) must manage lawful web traffic. After collecting 30 co-sponsors, Markey can force the Senate to vote on the changes.

Under the Congressional Review Act, as reported by The Verge, Congress could reverse the FCC’s decision with a simple majority, leaving the tenants of net neutrality intact.

To move forward, Markey has been collecting co-sponsors for the bill. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, announced on Monday that she would be a co-sponsor, bringing the total to required 30.

Markey can effectively force the Senate to consider overturning the decision, leading to a debate and vote, as Congress has the ability to review and reverse rulings by federal agencies within a 60 legislative day window after the decision is made.

“We’ve reached the magic number of 30 to secure a vote on the Senate floor,” said Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, in a statement on Monday. “And that number will only continue to climb.”

“Republicans are faced with a choice,” Markey continued, “be on the right side of history and stand with the American people who support a free and open internet, or hold hands with special interests who want to control the internet for their own profit.”

However, even if the Senate votes to save net neutrality, which may be unlikely since it is under Republican control, additional steps are still required. First, the resolution would go to the House, which is also controlled by Republicans, who would need to pass it. Next, it would head to the desk of President Donald Trump, who would then have to approve the legislation, another move that is seen as unlikely.

If Markey’s attempt to keep net neutrality fails, there are also other legal options that could prevent the FCC’s changes from going forward.

A variety of legal challenges are already in the works, the results of which could stop the repeal of net neutrality. Additionally, local legislation may impact specific areas.