Senate Will Vote Wednesday To Try And Save Net Neutrality

from the if-at-first-you-don't-succeed dept

While U.S. net neutrality protections technically end on June 11, efforts to restore the rules continue. On Wednesday the Senate is now formally scheduled to hold a vote to try and use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to reverse the FCC repeal. The CRA can reverse a regulatory action with a majority vote in the House and Senate; it's what the GOP and Trump administration used to kill popular broadband privacy rules before they could take effect last year.

In a Statement, Senator Ed Markey called the May 16 vote the "most important vote for the internet in the history of the Senate":

"By passing my CRA resolution to put net neutrality back on the books, we can send a clear message to American families that we support them, not the special interest agenda of President Trump and his broadband baron allies. May 16 will be the most important vote for the internet in the history of the Senate, and I call on my Republicans colleagues to join this movement and stand on the right side of digital history."

It's believed that net neutrality supporters should have the votes they need to get the CRA effort through the Senate. Getting time and the necessary votes in the House, where ISP influence is more pervasive, is likely to be a taller order. And even if the measure makes its way through the House, Trump still has the ability to veto it. Net neutrality supporters believe that if they get that far they may be able to pander to Trump's "populist" side given the immense public support for net neutrality.

While stranger things have happened, that seems like a tall order for a President who has routinely indicated he has absolutely no earthly idea what net neutrality even is. And when Trump does talk about it, he clings tightly to the misleading narratives that have been pushed for years in certain media echo chambers thanks to the help of ISP lobbyists:

Still, the CRA route does have the benefit of forcing net neutrality opponents to put their disdain for the internet and the will of the public down on paper ahead of the looming midterms. Given that 82% of Republicans and 90% of Democrats oppose the FCC's obnoxiously-named "restoring internet freedom" repeal, naming and shaming does serve a tactical purpose. After all, as we've routinely noted, there's absolutely nothing partisan about keeping the internet healthy, competitive, and free from arbitrary barriers anti-competitively erected by giant telecom monopolies.

That said, the best bet to reverse the FCC's attack on net neutrality rests with the courts. Or as Tim Wu, the man who coined the term net neutrality, recently put it:

"The problem for Mr. Pai is that government agencies are not free to abruptly reverse longstanding rules on which many have relied without a good reason, such as a change in factual circumstances. A mere change in F.C.C. ideology isn’t enough. As the Supreme Court has said, a federal agency must “examine the relevant data and articulate a satisfactory explanation for its action.” Given that net neutrality rules have been a huge success by most measures, the justification for killing them would have to be very strong.

It isn’t. In fact, it’s very weak."

Numerous lawsuits should heat up over the next few months highlighting how the FCC ignored the public and engaged in all manner of dodgy behavior to rush the repeal through. Should that fail, the best recourse for angry consumers is voting out lawmakers that prioritize monopoly profits over the health of the internet, and the welfare of consumers, startups, and small businesses. And the looming CRA vote, even if it fails, should make it much easier to clearly target those lawmakers in the voting booth during the midterms and beyond.


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  • icon
    Berenerd (profile), 15 May 2018 @ 6:32am

    Popular Opinion Matters to Trump...

    Ok, maybe not. He may STATE he is for the people, however, trying to start wars with allies, destroy the earth but putting a finger in the air to all protections, etc, yeah not really.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2018 @ 8:48am

      Re: Popular Opinion Matters to Trump...

      What matters to trump is highly debatable but it seems to be pretty much the complete opposite of what he says.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2018 @ 6:36am

    That sound you hear is Richard Bennett grinding his teeth in righteous anger that someone might dare to question the wisdom of overlord Pai and his Reese mug...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ryan Jones, 15 May 2018 @ 7:41am

    Trump has no idea what net neutrality is - he just knows that Obama was in favor of it, so he's against it. That's all his presidency is. He's trying to be the anti-Obama. he's trying to erase his legacy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2018 @ 8:49am

      Re:

      It could be much worse than that.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mason Wheeler (profile), 15 May 2018 @ 8:51am

      Re:

      Yeah, that's the way the Presidency has worked for a long time now. Obama was the anti-Bush. Bush was the anti-Clinton. Clinton was the anti-Bush Sr. And each one has been worse than the last.

      Seems to me it will only stop when we elect someone for who they are instead of who they're not.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Thad, 15 May 2018 @ 9:36am

        Re: Re:

        I think Clinton and Obama were very much elected for who they were: specifically, they were extremely charismatic and inspiring speakers.

        I think the same is true of George W Bush, to a lesser extent; people who supported him considered him to be a plainspoken straight-shooter.

        Certainly dissatisfaction with the previous administration also played a role in electing each of them, but it's extremely reductive to say that's all they were elected for.

        I also think there's a very good criticism to be made that voters tend, too often, to choose style over substance; when I say that Clinton and Obama got elected because of charisma and speaking ability, I'm not saying that's necessarily a good thing.

        I do think that Trump, more than other past presidents, is fixating on undoing things that Obama did because Obama did them. Certainly Clinton undid things Bush did, and Bush undid things Clinton did, and Obama undid things Bush did, but I believe in all those cases it was due to a genuine ideological disagreement with the previous administration. In Trump's case, it often feels more like pettiness and spite.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2018 @ 10:22am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "I do think that Trump, more than other past presidents, is fixating on undoing things that Obama did because Obama did them."

          It's not like you guys know anything about anything so why not perpetuate this argument?

          It's NOT that Obama did them, it is that a "Democrat" did them. Remember when Regan brought gun control law into existence and how many republicans supported it and to this day hold Regan in high regard?

          You folks only bring up Obama because of your race fixation. If Bush was a democrat and did the same thing, they would hate it just as much. Much the same way all of you Democrats keep thinking how your democratic leaders keep telling you how to think. If Obama was a Republican, then the Republicans would be rubbing your faces in it and you all would be calling Obama an Uncle Tom and spouting off how the minority communities suffer more under Obama.

          The sad thing is... you have already lost and don't even have the intelligence to figure out how or why.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2018 @ 8:14am

    Last Stands!

    You have got to be kidding me - the internet’s last great hope is a republican congress (too funny). Of course, if that doesn’t work there is always the possibility of an informed and engaged electorate . . . LMAO - this is the electorate that gave us the people doing all this in the first place. This battle is lost, best bet is to try and elect democrats, if they can wrestle back control of the government, you might, just might, have a chance of getting some net naturality laws . . . though that’s also a long shot.

    Ps – its starting to feel a little phony when you guys profess to believe that what the American people want has anything to do with policy or legislation

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2018 @ 8:53am

      Re: Last Stands!

      "American people" consists of a wide variety of thoughts, beliefs, opinions, you name it - and yet you claim they all think the same?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2018 @ 8:44am

    the best recourse for angry consumers is voting out lawmakers that prioritize monopoly profits over the health of the internet

    If that's the best option then we're all in trouble. Politicians "stand" for more than just one thing. For most of the public who still don't really understand what Net Neutrality is or how it might impact them they will deprioritize NN against other platform tenets on election day. A politician who voted against NN might also be in favor of pro-life or pro-choice and so they get the vote anyway.

    Basically we're all screwed with the current system whether we know it or not.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    rebrad (profile), 15 May 2018 @ 9:14am

    Read the News

    Hasn't anyone read the news lately? Why would anyone want The Government to control the flow of information? It's not like the NSA or any other of our agencies tasked to "protect us" have the best reputation. Why would we trust "them" to guarantee free access to the internet?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2018 @ 9:22am

      Re: Read the News

      Have you even read what NN is? It isn't government controlling the flow of information. It is practically the opposite. It is to prevent ISPs, especially those with monopolies, from controlling the flow of information.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Thad, 15 May 2018 @ 9:24am

      Re: Read the News

      ISPs are not the Internet.

      Net neutrality does not allow the government to control the flow of information on the Internet. It prevents ISPs from controlling the flow of information on the Internet.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rich, 15 May 2018 @ 9:30am

      Re: Read the News

      Wow, take about speaking from ignorance.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JoeDetroit (profile), 15 May 2018 @ 9:54am

      Re: Read the News

      This is not about "government control of the of the flow of information". It is about keeping massive multinational corporations from controlling the flow of information.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ShadowNinja (profile), 15 May 2018 @ 1:05pm

      Re: Read the News

      Because 'Net Neutrality' is really 'No Charging Different Prices For The Same Product To Manipulate The Free Market'. And those rules are things we already have for other utilities like Electric and Water.

      The water company is barred by law from charging a different rate for watering your lawn with 100 gallons of water versus consuming 100 gallons of water in the shower.

      The electric company is barred by law from not charging you for electricity that Maytag appliances use, while charging double the regular rate for all electricity that non-Maytag appliances use.

      Those kinds of charging rules that are banned for good reason would manipulate the market. In the water company's case it would be attempting to discourage people from caring for their lawns (which would hurt the landscaping industry). In the electric company example it would stop the electric company from handing the home appliance market to whoever they want via the offer of free electricity.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 15 May 2018 @ 9:59am

    This is just one of the issues Republicans are positioning themselves in direct confrontation with their constituents. I'm hoping they receive a huge and solid defeat in the next elections.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2018 @ 10:16am

      Re:

      Don't worry, the Republicans have just as many clueless and out of touch with reality voters as do the democrats.

      The ONLY thing that swing elections is the groups of voters that still care but are too stupid to understand.

      Meanwhile those that do care and know how to solve the problem can only sit back and watch the rest of you idiots keep fucking stuff up and go after each other like good little minions being ordered by their Political Churches.

      Whether NN gets reinstated or not you silly clueless idiots are still going to get fucked by the monopolies that your actions are ensuring the survival of while simultaneously paying lip service to the opposite.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2018 @ 8:45pm

        Re: Re:

        Meanwhile those that do care and know how to solve the problem can only sit back and watch

        So what you're saying is you like to complain and do a lot of arm chair quarterbacking but you actually can't be bothered to actually do something to help change the situation.

        Got it. Moving on.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2018 @ 10:17pm

        Re: Re:

        In other words it's all pointless and your big takeaway is to scream and piss and moan at the rest of us.

        Fuck me, but you're boring. I'd rather watch paint dry in hopes of discovering intelligent life forms. Odds are they'd be smarter than you.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Thad, 15 May 2018 @ 11:08am

      Re:

      A "huge defeat" isn't really possible in the Senate; if the Democrats hold all their seats and manage to pick up the two they need for a bare majority, that will exceed expectations. If they manage to pick up more than that (say, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, and Tennessee), that's going to be about as big a victory as they can get with this particular Senate map.

      The Dems are slightly favored to win the House, and if they outperform expectations then it's a lot more room for a significant victory margin there. (And of course there are state and local offices to consider, not just the US Congress.)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 15 May 2018 @ 2:05pm

        Re: Re:

        Interesting, I get the impression they are pretty ahead of R's in the dispute.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Thad, 15 May 2018 @ 2:32pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          State polls are less reliable than national ones, and can have considerable variation; for example, in Tennessee, Marsha Blackburn has polled anywhere from down 10 points to only down 5 points.

          Nationally, Democrats have consistently polled 6-8% ahead of Republicans, so that implies an overall advantage, and they've also consistently done well in special elections. But what that translates to in November is harder to gauge. It's likely they'll take the House, but it's not certain, and if they do, their majority may be slim or it may be large. The president's party typically loses seats in midterms, and this president is particularly unpopular -- but there's also still quite a lot of gerrymandering to contend with. Some states' gerrymandered district maps have been thrown out (like Pennsylvania's), but Supreme Court rulings are still pending on several more, and however the court rules, it's unlikely new maps will take effect before November.

          As for the Senate, the Democrats did particularly well there in 2012, which puts them at a disadvantage now that those seats are back up in 2018; it's very hard for them to gain ground. Of the 33 seats up in November, only 9 are held by Republicans. Nevada and Arizona are definitely in play, and even Tennessee and Texas are possible pickups, which is crazy, but there are challenges, too; there are Democratic seats in very Trump-friendly states (like Manchin in WV), and even if the Dems gain some Republican seats, it's likely that Republicans will gain some Democratic seats too.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    jimbo, 15 May 2018 @ 4:47pm

    Net Neutrality and Arizona Republic Newspaper

    The Arizona Republic carried a guest editorial today by Rosa Mendosa, The executive director of "Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership", a nonparitsan coalition dedicated to advocating for access and the full utilization of technology and telecommunications. Reachable at rosamendoza@httponline.org. The editorial parrots the Pai line about net neutrality paralyzing broadband investment and rails against the 1930's-era regulations. The editorial cries out for a rebuttal, but I'm not sure I could do it justice. Any help would be appreciated.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2018 @ 7:24pm

    About 85%* of the country oppose the changes. Millions of people don't want it, yet the decision comes down to a few dozen men in suits? This is why the government is so disliked.

    (* 85% - paraphrasing the statement 82% Republicans and 90% Democrats.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2018 @ 2:14am

    Heart of Gold

    Net neutrality is the Fairness Doctrine. Will target conservative media.

    I think he due to a name change. How about - say - Zaphod?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    John Smith, 16 May 2018 @ 2:50am

    it's "try TO" not "try and."

    It's "which," not "what," if you're talking about a quantitative measurement.

    No one cares about minor errors like this but it reveals how dumbed down we are when even our "journalists" can't get it right.

    Maybe the SAT Test can fix this by including more questions about the HIV virus or ATM machines.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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