The Push to Restore Net Neutrality Rules

By Published May 12, 2018 at 9:06 pm

The push to restore the net neutrality rules put in place under the Obama administration has gained more traction this week, with Democrats in the Senate filing a petition to force a vote on the repeal of the FCC’s new rules enacted by Ajit Pai, current FCC chairman.

The Congressional Review Act is the exact tool Congress and Ajit Pai’s FCC used to reverse Obama-era regulations—that is, the 2015 Open Internet Order that banned blocking content, throttling, paid prioritization by ISPs, and placed ISPs under Title II classification. Democratic Senators have used the CRA to force a vote and potentially remove the recent FCC rules voted for in December; however, the measure is something of a longshot, as it would have to pass both the House and be signed by the President.

Regardless, the effort is still very important, and has gained the support of many tech companies and internet communities Such as Reddit, GitHub, Tumblr, Etsy, Netflix, and more. Currently, the resolution has 50 senators supporting it—48 Democrats, and two Republicans. The 50 Senators are looking for a possible 51st Senator to pledge their support. What’s more, forcing a vote requires everyone to stand up and be counted, so to speak; Senators will either be for net neutrality or against it, and that could have implications for future elections, 2020 included.

The CRA is currently considered the best hope for restoring the previous and popular net neutrality rules. Nevertheless, voters should remember that this is an important and continuing issue. Continued pressure at lower levels could help propel it into the midterm 2018 elections and beyond.

- Eric Hamilton

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