Democrats in the Senate want to bring back net neutrality, too.
Amazingly, we all didn’t die when the FCC voted to rollback the net neutrality rules implemented during President Barack Obama’s administration. Those who desperately want those regulations in place have not stopped fighting. Now they have chosen to place pressure on the states to save net neutrality.
Without the net neutrality regulations, internet service providers have the ability to create slow and fast lanes for certain content and websites. Notice I said “ability” and not that they will. The net neutrality advocates view companies as evil and greedy and do not think of the business consequences one would face if it decided to slow down Netflix or YouTube.
No, they need the federal government or now, in this case, the states to tell leaders of a company how to operate.
Six states have already put forth legislation: California, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington. North Carolina, Illinois, and Alaska are currently debating whether to introduce their own legislation.
California State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) stated that the state “won’t let the Trump-led FCC dismantle our right to a free and open internet” or allow them to “create a system where internet providers can favor web sites and services based on who pays more money.” (Someone tell Wiener that “free and open” would mean no government regulations)
Washington Governor Jay Inslee said that when the federal government “takes away that protection, we must protect net neutrality for our people, for our businesses and for the virtues of free speech.” (Someone please educate him on the 1st Amendment)
They can moan and whine all they want, but they may not win their cases because the rollback included language that blocked “state and city governments from creating their own net neutrality laws.” They came to this conclusion because “the internet does not recognize state border and transfers traffic between states.” From CNNMoney:
A spokeswoman for the FCC directed CNNMoney to a section of the final order for net neutrality, in which the FCC asserts authority to prevent states from pursuing laws inconsistent with the net neutrality repeal.
“We conclude that we should exercise our authority to preempt any state or local requirements that are inconsistent with the federal deregulatory approach we adopt today,” according to the final order.
In the section, the FCC also stresses that the burden placed on internet service providers by forcing them to “comply with a patchwork of separate and potentially conflicting requirements” across the country.
Bret Stephens at the American Enterprise Institute explained that “[T]he internet is the ultimate form of interstate commerce, which is clearly only within the authority of the F.C.C.”
Interstate commerce. Where have we heard this before? Oh yeah! OBAMACARE! I remember those advocates telling us who hate Obamacare that the legislation is Constitutional since it falls under interstate commerce.
The advocates may receive some help from Capitol Hill. Democrats have 40 co-sponsors for a bill that would overturn the FCC decision. From CNN:
Democrats announced Tuesday they have 40 co-sponsors for a resolution of disapproval that would overturn a repeal of the regulations, essentially guaranteeing them a procedural vote on the floor.
“Millennials are energized,” Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, who’s leading the effort, said at a news conference. “They know the loss of net neutrality means the loss of control of the internet, which is oxygen to them. We cannot let that happen.”
This is how it could happen:
Senate Democrats are using the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to roll back regulatory actions by the executive branch, in their attempt to reverse the repeal. It’s an effort that will take months. The FCC must first publish its final rule in the Federal Register. After that, Markey has 60 days to introduce his resolution of disapproval, which requires 30 co-sponsors to move to the floor.
Once it gets to the floor, it would go through a motion to proceed, which requires a simple majority of 51 votes. Since Republicans have a 51-49 majority, they could kill the bill if they all vote against it. To pass it, Democrats would need two Republicans to cross over to support the motion to proceed — and that’s assuming all Democrats vote for it.
If Democrats win and the bill gets beyond the motion to proceed, the resolution would again need 51 votes to pass in a final Senate vote.
A similar effort must happen on the House side, where Republicans also are in control. After all that, the measure would head to the President.
Like I said, it may work. Moderate Republican Susan Collins from Maine, who has shown in the past that she has no problems going against her party, has already joined the Democrats fight to save net neutrality. Her spokeswoman Annie Clark said that the senator “believes that a careful, deliberative process involving experts and the public is warranted to ensure that consumers have strong protections that guarantee consumer choice, free markets and continued growth.”
Her counterpart, Independent Angus King, joined Collins, but that isn’t a shock since he caucuses with the Democrats. So assuming that the rest of the Democrats, along with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), votes yes, that will put the vote at 50-50. If they can persuade another Republican to join then they wouldn’t have to worry about Vice President Mike Pence’s tie-breaking vote.
An article in the Houston Chronicle caught my eye. I said Alaska is currently thinking about its own net neutrality rules and they also have a somewhat moderate Republican senator in Lisa Murkowski. She has said that she supports the FCC decision to eliminate net neutrality, but she also stated that she thinks “that there is more that needs to be done.” She would prefer bipartisan legislation “rather than an effort to reverse the commission’s action.”DONATE
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