Democrats just forced a Senate vote on net neutrality

Democrats are forcing the Senate to have a vote on net neutrality

By Matthew Rozsa

Published January 9, 2018 12:08PM (EST)

Demonstrators rally in support of net neutrality outside a Verizon store (AP/Mary Altaffer))
Demonstrators rally in support of net neutrality outside a Verizon store (AP/Mary Altaffer))

Senate Democrats may not be able to stop the repeal of net neutrality, but they will at the very least force Republicans to pay a political price for causing it to happen.

Thirty Democrats have voted to use the Congressional Review Act to prevent the Federal Communications Commission from repealing net neutrality, according to New York Magazine. Because a proposed bill only needs 30 Senate sponsors to receive a full vote on the floor, the Senate Democrats have effectively forced their Republican colleagues to vote on whether the 2015 Open Internet Order (which enforced net neutrality) should remain in place.

"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," Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., explained in a statement.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., made a similar point on Twitter when she noted that she was the last Democrat who needed to cosponsor the measure in order for it to reach the threshold of 30 votes.

Net neutrality's repeal has been panned by experts as a danger for American innovation and the American media. "Look who's cheering it and look who's lobbying for it," Craig Aaron, President and CEO of Free Press, told Salon in November. "It's the phone and cable companies that have been pushing to undo these regulations." Watch that interview below:

Last month, the FCC repealed net neutrality under the leadership of Chairman Ajit Pai, who was appointed by President Donald Trump. The decision sparked concerns that internet service providers would raise their prices and discriminate against certain types of content. Later reporting revealed that comments submitted to the FCC in opposition to net neutrality were actually fraudulent. The FCC was accused of having ignored that problem.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Ajit Pai Claire Mccaskill Donald Trump Net Neutrality