Senate Approves First Step In Uphill Effort To Restore Net Neutrality

from the try-and-try-again dept

Today the Senate voted 52 to 47 to reverse the FCC’s attack on net neutrality, setting up a tougher showdown in the House.

As noted previously, net neutrality advocates managed to convince Congress to try and use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to reverse the FCC’s misleadingly-named “Restoring Internet Freedom Order.”

That order, approved by a 3-2 FCC vote last December, not only kills net neutrality (as of June 11), but eliminates much of the FCC’s authority to police monopoly ISPs. Since many still don’t seem to understand this, it’s worth reiterating that the attack on net neutrality is just one part of a much broader plan to severely hamstring FTC, FCC, and state oversight of giant broadband monopolies that face little to no organic market competition.

Today’s hearing before the Senate included all of the favorite hits culled from a decade of net neutrality debates, including ISP-loyal lawmakers like John Thune repeating the entirely false claim that net neutrality rules somehow devastated sector investment (SEC filings, earnings reports, and countless CEO statements disprove this). Claims that U.S. net neutrality rules were “heavy handed government regulation of the internet” were also frequently repeated (that’s also not true, and the U.S. rules are arguably modest by international standards).

Net neutrality activists had been trying to secure additional Senate votes for months, something made arguably difficult by ISP lobbyist success at stupidly framing net neutrality as a partisan issue, despite widespread bipartisan support. But activists managed to get three key Republicans to join their ranks: Maine Senator Susan Collins, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, and Louisiana Senator John Kennedy. Kennedy’s yes vote was a notable surprise, given he’d been supporting ISP efforts to pass a bogus net neutrality law with an eye toward pre-empting tougher state or federal rules.

But at the last moment he came along for the ride, his justification being notably amusing:

From here, the fight gets notably more difficult. The House also has to vote in favor of the CRA reversal, a tall order given the large number of breathleesly-loyal telecom industry House allies like Marsha Blackburn. And should it pass the House, it also needs to avoid a veto by President Trump. Activists hope to appeal to Trump’s tendency to float wherever the populist winds may lead, but that’s certainly still no sure thing, in part because there’s zero evidence the President has any idea what net neutrality is.

That said, even if the effort fails, it should do a wonderful job clearly illustrating who you should avoid voting for in the midterms and thereafter — especially if having a healthy, open and competitive internet is something that’s important to you.

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Comments on “Senate Approves First Step In Uphill Effort To Restore Net Neutrality”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Even if were orthogonally spelled "breathleesly-loyal" isn't intelligible.

Another unique compound “word” by minion (which appears to be AI and so unaware of how odd it is).

Anyhoo, is a minor surprise yet as minion notes, offers little hope. I bet Kennedy joined because of some “rule” dimly recall that prohibits amending if don’t vote for. Strategic move only.

William Braunfeld (profile) says:

Re: Even if were orthogonally spelled "breathleesly-loyal" isn't intelligible.

By minion? Is a minor surprise? Dimly recall?

Buddy, you are in no position to be critiquing grammar in the article. Also, while pointing out a typo is fine, trying to use it to suggest that the article was written by an AI (what? Seriously?) is just… bizarre.

[P.S. I am hoping I get a visit from a very special AC…]

Anonymous Coward says:

“That said, even if the effort fails, it should do a wonderful job clearly illustrating who you should avoid voting for in the midterms and thereafter — especially if having a healthy, open and competitive internet is something that’s important to you.”

Nope, more time and energy will be spent fighting people that did not buy the party dogma. They will keep losing and not understand why as they vote in the new masters…. same as the old masters.

Every nation gets the government it deserves.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Change requires a lot of help. Before you move forward you have to work to get the people pushing backwards to stop pushing backwards. Unfortunately, most efforts to stop regression are treated as a regression itself.

Like you said, instead of really caring what what was posted meant, your only reaction is to go on the offensive instead.

This is why we are only going to lose. By the time we are done fighting with each other over this they have already long won. Remember, this fight is not to get NN created or established, this is a fight just to try to keep it. Right now you are so far back on your heels the best you can hope for is to get some lube before they are done screwing everyone.

The pro-NN crowed just cannot see the forest for all of the trees and what is worse most of you are those trees. The entire Telecom sector is in one huge fog of war successfully hovering over the citizens while the incumbents and politicians sit upon a cliff overlooking the disarray that is our response and laughing.

Thad (user link) says:

If you have a Republican representative, now is an excellent time to contact them. Emails don’t work; go with a phone call, a letter, or even a fax.

The Senate Democrats were able to force a floor vote in the Senate due to CRA rules; there are no such rules in the House, and Ryan is under no obligation to bring the bill to the floor. If House Republicans facing tough reelections in November get a sense of how popular net neutrality is (and it is overwhelmingly popular, among Republicans as well as Democrats), they may force the issue.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

In regards to that, the majority of people can support a candidate and they can still lose because of how our electoral system works.

Additionally, you are correct in that saying 80% supports something doesn’t make it true, but it also doesn’t make it false either.

In this case, MULTIPLE polls, surveys, and studies have shown that the vast majority of the American people, R and D alike, support NN. Not to mention all the other evidence that proves they support it.

Calling statistics bogus just because you are living in denial is also old hat and doesn’t make the statistics false.

Thad (user link) says:

Here’s a list of senators who voted against net neutrality and are up for reelection in November:

MS – Hyde-Smith
MS – Wicker
NE – Fischer
NV – Heller
TX – Cruz
WY – Barrasso

Of those, only Heller is facing a close race, though Cruz’s challenger, Beto O’Rourke, is polling unusually well for a Democrat in Texas.

Marsha Blackburn is also running for Tennessee’s open senate seat, and polls show her down by 5-10 points. Definitely don’t vote for her if you’re in favor of net neutrality.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Richard lies again. News at 11.

Once again, you obviously either didn’t read the article or are deliberately lying. Given past comments, fairly likely the latter.

This is the first step. Obviously it needs to pass the House and be approved by Trump, both of which are long shots. And both of which are stated VERY CLEARLY in the article. However it does draw a line in the sand. Now everyone knows most Republicans either don’t understand NN or are completely bought and paid for by ISP lobbying. Kind of like yourself.

Stop shilling for ISPs, you’re just embarrassing yourself.

Try again Richard.

Will B. says:

Re: Re: Re: Wait...

…did you just flat-out admit that you didn’t read the article, as if it was somehow a good argument that was proving your point?

I’m genuinely curious: are you actually trying to sway anyone’s opinions? Are you trying to make a point, hoping to help people come around to your way of thinking?

Because if you are… you are doing a very, very poor job of it. I’m genuinely uncertain what the point of your posting here actually -is-. If you’re 100% certain that nobody in these comments will ever understand ‘the truth’ and come around to your way of thinking… then why do you insist on posting it anyways? You know it’ll just get flagged and ignored. Alternately, if you actually do want to bring people around to your point of view, why wouldn’t you engage with the article and point out the actual flaws? Even if people flag your comment, there are plenty of folks who would check it anyways just to see what you said, and among those you might actually change some peoples’ minds.

But saying, flat out, that you didn’t even bother to read the article and are just here to raise a ruckus…

Why? Genuinely, why are you even here?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Wait...

He’s here because he is probably being paid to.

He used to actually try pointing out flaws and making a semi-coherent argument. Then I came along and pointed out his extremely blatant lies and provided links that proved 100% he was deliberately lying. After a few times of that he threw up his hands, said he "doesn’t engage with anonymous cowards" (which itself was a lie), and ever since then hasn’t posted anything except attempts at schoolyard level insults against TD.

As far as I can tell he has been thoroughly trounced and he’s sulking about it. The only reason he still comments at all is because he’s being paid to to at least try to discredit NN.

What do you say Richard? That about sum it up?

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Wait...

…did you just flat-out admit that you didn’t read the article, as if it was somehow a good argument that was proving your point?

I read it as an admission that he has no interest in discussing the articles that are written, only what he wants to talk about, and is more than willing to construct and attack strawmen based upon what he hallucinates is being written.

Or put simply, he just admitted that he’s only interested in trolling the site and isn’t interested in an honest discussion, and has thereby earned a place in the prestigious ‘automatic flag and otherwise ignore’ category alongside Blue.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 WHY?

I think the funniest part of it all is how Dick thinks that a lack of bias on the side of ISPs when it comes to delivering data over the pipes suddenly translates into a lack of privacy. Because somehow the alternative, where an ISP has to determine whose content loads faster, magically translates into privacy. It’s not like the ISP needs to look at the content or have some idea of what it is to decide what gets to go faster, right?

Up until the point where the RIAA and MPAA start banging the repeal gong, of course. Then Dick will start screaming about how ISPs aren’t regulated enough, like in the Strike 3 case. What an utterly transparent moron.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: WHY?

And what privacy problems were those again?

Oh! You mean the ones that Republicans and Trump created when they breathlessly rushed to eliminate the very strong privacy protections in 2015 rules shortly after they won the election? The ones that REQUIRED ISPs to not share any data unless specifically and affirmatively opted in by the customer? Those privacy protections?

Go cry me river.

Try again Richard.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Trust... with an added safety net of legal limits

One of the responses to Bobic’s tweet with regards to ‘If you trust your cable company…’ was good enough I felt it worth highlighting here, as it’s similar to something I and others have raised with regards to companies objecting to laws aimed at actions that they insist they would never do, such that there’s no reason for the law at all.

‘Why wouldn’t I like his vote if I did trust my cable company? I also trust my neighbors not to randomly shoot me for no reason, but I sure as heck want there to still be laws that say they can’t.’ -Nazo

Anonymous Coward says:

House Bill Numbers

Fight to Save Net Neutrality Moves to House of Representatives”, Rep Mike Doyle (PA-14) press release, May 16, 2018

Earlier this year, Congressman Doyle introduced legislation (H.J.Res. 129) in the House to overrule the FCC’s action . . .

Congressman Doyle has filed a discharge petition to bring the legislation to save Net Neutrality up for a vote in the House (H.Res. 873) . . .

H.Res. 873 — “Providing for consideration of the joint resolution (H.J. Res. 129)…”

H.J. Res. 129 — “Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to ‘Restoring Internet Freedom’.”

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