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Senate Passes Net Neutrality Bill; Is That Action Futile?

The U.S. Senate passed legislation today to save net neutrality rules and force big telecom companies to treat all web users equally, but insiders doubt that the House of Representatives will follow suit or that President Trump would sign it. After all, it's his FCC that wants to ditch net neutrality rules.

Democrats forced the vote today using the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which allows Congress, with a majority vote in each chamber and the president's signature, to overturn recent rulings by agencies like the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Three Republicans, Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and John Kennedy (LA) joined the 49 Senate Democrats to pass the bill 52-47.

However, in the House Democrats will need 25 Republicans to vote against their party and join in an effort to bring the measure to a vote. Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) said he would initiate that action tomorrow and it's supported by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

Most Republicans argue that the net neutrality rules are unnecessary and onerous for broadband providers and have urged Democrats to join with them in working out a legislative replacement to the FCC rules, a move supported by the broadband industry.

However, net neutrality supporters reject the idea that a Republican-controlled Congress could come up with protections as strong as the FCC rules. Legislation offered by GOP members leaves open the possibility that internet providers could create “fast lanes” by charging websites for faster speeds, they say.

Despite the gloomy outlook in the House, net neutrality proponents are urging voters to contact their members of Congress seeking their support.

The American Civil Liberties Union has launched such an appeal.

"Our democracy depends on our freedom to create, communicate, and connect without barriers. Favoring corporate and big money interests online - reserving a faster, better internet only for the people and corporations that can pay for it - is an affront to our democratic values," the ACLU contends.

Even if the effort Congress to save net neutrality fails, Democrats believe they will have been handed yet another issue in their drive to gain the majority in Congress in the November 6 mid-term elections.

#netneutrality #internet #CongressionalReviewAct #SenSusanCollins #SenLisaMurkowski #SenJohnKennedy #RepMikeDoyle #NancyPelosi

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