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Senate Democrats Will Force A Vote to Protect Net Neutrality, So It’s Time to Call Your Reps

Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) has signed on as the 30th cosponsor for a Senate bill to overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) ending of net neutrality. McCaskill’s sponsorship means that the bill will receive a vote on the Senate floor, so it’s time to pressure your Republican senators, because this bill only needs a simple majority to pass.

Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) first introduced the bill, which is intended to use the power of the Congressional Review Act to undo the FCC’s decision. The Congressional Review Act allows Congress to overturn recent federal regulations with a simple majority, and Republicans have previously used it to gut Obama-era environmental and consumer privacy protections. As a result, a few months ago, some Democrats introduced bills to repeal the Congressional Review Act altogether. But it appears that in this case, at least 30 Democrats are willing to use the trick to protect net neutrality.

“We’ve reached the magic number of 30 to secure a vote on the Senate floor,” Markey said in a statement, “and that number will only continue to climb. Republicans are faced with a choice — be on the right side of history and stand with the American people who support a free and open internet, or hold hands with the special interests who want to control the internet for their own profit.”

Admittedly, this bill doesn’t have great prospects, given the Republican majority in both houses of Congress and the fact that it eventually has to hit the desk of Donald Trump. However, it is going to force Republicans to take a highly unpopular vote in an election year if they don’t choose to protect net neutrality. Given the sinfully lavish gift that Republicans already handed their donors in the form of the tax bill, it’s feasible that a few senators and representatives could be swayed to actually, you know, represent the best interests of their constituents? Including the more than 75% of Republican voters who support net neutrality? Wouldn’t that be a fun change?

“In the Senate,” Fight for the Future reminds us, “we may only need one more Republican to vote for the CRA to get it passed, given that Susan Collins (R-ME) opposed the FCC plan and signalled openness to a CRA … In the House, we’ll need about 20 Republicans to listen to their constituents and vote for the CRA.” That is doable, especially in an election year on a vote that concerns one of the few non-partisan issues remaining in America. Not easy, but doable.

New year’s here, and it’s back to the phone lines, heroes.

(Via The Hill and The Verge; image: Shutterstock)

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