Senate to vote on repealing net neutrality rule changes
17 May, 2018, 01:02 | Author: Cecelia Webb
This wouldn't be the end of the effort's struggles, however, as it is unknown whether the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives will even vote on the issue or President Trump would impart his required signature on the matter. Ajit Pai, its new chairman appointed by President Donald Trump, made clear that he opposed the net-neutrality rules and would seek to eliminate them when he took over the FCC's head.
The net neutrality rules were enacted in 2015 to keep internet providers from slowing down or blocking content, as well as to prevent those providers from charging higher prices for faster service.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has said lawmakers in that chamber are focused on designing their own legislation to "permanently address this issue", casting doubt on whether the Senate resolution can advance. Democrats argue that scrapping the rules will give ISPs free reign to suppress certain content or promote sites that pay them.
Senate Democrats won a vote to preserve net neutrality regulations, a victory for a measure that still faces obstacles to becoming law but could appeal to young voters and boost the party in mid-term elections.
This issue doesn't cut along clean party lines, said Steven Kull, who runs the Program for Public Consultation at the University of Maryland and has studied public attitudes on net neutrality.
He continued, "The repeal of net neutrality is not only a blow to the average consumer, but it is a blow to public schools, rural Americans, communities of color and small businesses".
Despite surviving a court challenge from broadband industry groups seeking to overturn the rules in 2016, they came under fire again a year later - this time from the agency's new Republican leadership.
Collins said, in a statement, she voted for the measure to "ensure that the Internet will remain open and continue to be a powerful and transformative platform of innovation and economic opportunity".
For almost all of the past 10 years, the FCC has had in place rules that sought to guarantee net-neutrality protections.
Net neutrality is the principle that all traffic on the internet should basically be treated the same.
Equally as predictably, Commissioner JESSICA ROSENWORCEL took the opposite position from PAI, with a statement reading "Today the UNITED STATES Senate took a big step to fix the serious mess the FCC made when it rolled back net neutrality late past year". According to data provided by Google, net neutrality regularly ranks among top political searches in each state.
Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Penn.), who is a co-sponsor of the House CRA, told the Daily Dot late last month that "grass roots activism" could create a scenario where there is a "real shot at getting this thing out of the House". While the FCC is an independent government agency, it is overseen by Congress. Earlier today, the Senate voted to open debate on the measure, with three Republicans joining Democrats to enable the final vote at 3 PM ET.
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