Last month, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decided to repeal net neutrality regulations with a 3-2 vote. This saddened a lot of individuals, companies, and organizations who were hoping things would turn out for the best. Because of how the results of the vote turned out to be, Senate Democrats have promised to continue fighting to preserve the net neutrality rules set during Barack Obama’s administration.
So what is their latest plan on combating this?
On Tuesday, the Senate Democrats announced that they will be implementing a vote on the reversal of decision of the FCC later this year. The senators also promised they will make this a key issue during the 2018 congressional elections. Considering this is a way of enticing young voters, the senators will do their best to let everyone know where they stand in the issue.
The Democratic Senators are confident in their latest plan, especially since Republican Senator Susan Collins announced that she would be supporting the effort in reversing the recent decision made by the FCC. This came as a surprise to the Democrats, considering the Senator’s political affiliation. But then again, a spokeswoman for the Senator said that she “believes that a careful, deliberative process” should be made with experts. At the same time, the consumers should have confidence that their rights will be protected in a free market with consumer choices and continued growth.
When the FCC made its vote last month, a group of state attorneys general quickly made a promise to sue. One such trade group that made this action was one that represented large companies in the tech industry, such as Alphabet Inc., Amazon.com Inc., and Facebook Inc. The group made a promise to support the legal challenges to have the decision reversed.
As for the side that felt victorious with last month’s vote, companies like AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc., and Comcast Corp. celebrated with the results of the ruling. With it, they were able to have control over the content that consumers have access to online. This was also a big win for FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who has since been trying to undo several telecommunications regulations.
During a Capitol Hills news conference held in Washington on Tuesday, Senate Democrats called this decision “un-American.” They also pointed out that this was an “all-out assault on consumers.”
But in order to reverse the decision of the FCC, an approval would have to come from the Senate, U.S. House, and President Donald Trump. Considering the FCC action is backed by both the President and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, this would be very hard to do.
And while internet providers now have the ability to block, discriminate, or throttle internet content, the FCC order requires them to publicly disclose these practices. To this, the internet providers have promised not to change how online content is obtained by consumers.
The Democrats believe that net neutrality is important to protect consumers’ rights. Republicans, on the other hand, believe that the rules stopped provider investments and these rules were unnecessary.
In order to force a vote, Democratic Senator Ed Markey said he had 39 co-sponsors waiting for this. But right now, it is unclear when the vote will take place since the new rules will not be taking an effect for another three months, at least. With 51 votes out of the 100-member body, the Republicans currently control the Senate. The Democrats need at least one Republican who will help them overturn the decision of the FCC. With Senator Collins stand, will this be enough to support them?