Effort To Save Net Neutrality Via Congressional Review Act Appears Stuck In Neutral

from the sisyphean-endeavor dept

Efforts to reverse the FCC's historically unpopular attack on net neutrality using the Congressional Review Act (CRA) appear stuck in neutral.

The CRA lets Congress reverse a regulatory action with a simply majority vote in the Senate and the House (which is how the GOP successfully killed FCC privacy protections last year). And while the Senate voted 52 to 47 back in May to reverse the FCC's attack on net neutrality, companion efforts to set up a similar vote in the House don't appear to be gaining much traction as the clock continues to tick. A discharge petition needs 218 votes to even see floor time, and another 218 votes to pass the measure.

But so far, the petition only currently has 172 likely votes, all Democrats:

Again, not a single Republican in the House has signaled any interest in saving net neutrality. As we've long noted, the quest for a healthy internet free from anti-competitive meddling by telecom monopolies has long been idiotically framed as a partisan issue despite broad, bipartisan consumer support. ISPs and their numerous political proxy organizations have long enjoyed using rhetoric that only further fuels these divisions (derailing real consensus) by conflating meaningful consumer protections with a "government takeover of the internet," ideas that are happily parroted by many ISP cash-loving DC lawmakers.

Undaunted, net neutrality activists held an advocacy day yesterday trying to drum up some additional support among lawmakers among a clearly debate-fatigued public. Another net neutrality group, Fight for the Future, has constructed this page to track which lawmakers haven't signed on, while making it easy to contact those that haven't.

That said, this effort was always an uphill climb. Even if the CRA vote succeeded in the House, it would have to avoid a veto by Trump. Many activists I've spoken to believe a vote in both Houses would appeal to Trump's "populist" streak forcing him to bend to the whims of public consensus. But given Trump's version of populism tends to be as authentic as a Hollywood Wild West set and as consistent as a brush fire, that prediction always seemed a tad optimistic. Still, stranger things have happened, so maintaining hope in the face of this level of corruption isn't entirely outrageous.

That said, the best path forward for reversing the repeal is two fold. One, there remains a notable chance that the courts see the FCC's fraud-riddled net neutrality repeal as the blatant, facts-optional nonsense it actually is, and reverses it for being an "arbitrary and capricious" abuse of procedural norms and the FCC's obligation to represent the public. If that doesn't work, there's always voting in the the midterms and thereafter for a new breed of lawmakers that don't mindlessly place ISP campaign contributions above the welfare of the public, the internet, and genuine, healthy competition.


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 28 Jun 2018 @ 4:46am

    When inaction IS action

    Again, not a single Republican in the House has signaled any interest in saving net neutrality.

    By their actions, or inaction as it were though they have signaled loud and clear that they oppose it, something that voters will hopefully keep in mind next election.

    The current republicans in the House have made clear they have no interest in protecting network neutrality, so if that's valuable to you it might be a good idea to give them the boot and replace them with someone who does care.

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

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 28 Jun 2018 @ 7:23am

      Re: When inaction IS action

      This probably was the idea from the start. What we do need is Republican voters that agree with NN start calling their representatives (if they aren't already). Then the inaction will send an even stronger signal.

      I hope the midterms are a complete Republican bloodbath.

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 28 Jun 2018 @ 7:51am

        Re: Re: When inaction IS action

        That's how I've seen it, yeah. The odds of it passing both houses and avoiding a veto were/are low, the real goal is to show, on the record, who is pro-network neutrality and who is anti so that people can use that to decide who to vote for come the next election.

        The House republicans may think they can avoid that by refusing to even let it reach that point, but funnily enough by their inaction they've made their position perfectly clear regardless.

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

  • identicon
    Iggy, 28 Jun 2018 @ 7:02am

    "If that doesn't work, there's always voting in the the midterms and thereafter for a new breed of lawmakers that don't mindlessly place ISP campaign contributions above the welfare of the public, the internet, and genuine, healthy competition"

    Assuming of course the telecoms don't simply switch to funneling campaign money at Democrats like we've seen in California this week.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 28 Jun 2018 @ 7:18am

      Re:

      Oh smart companies tend to be equal opportunity 'donators', after all it doesn't matter which letter a politician has in front of their name if you own them.

      The point of giving the boot to sell-outs is to send a message, 'If you decide to serve the interests of private companies over the public you are voted in to serve, you won't be drawing a paycheck from the public sector for very long', in the hopes that the fear will keep at least some of them in line.

      All the 'donations' you can get your hands on won't do you much good if no-one will vote for you after all.

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

      • identicon
        I.T. Guy, 28 Jun 2018 @ 7:42am

        Re: Re:

        To them it's all $D's and $R's.

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

      • identicon
        Iggy, 28 Jun 2018 @ 8:21am

        Re: Re:

        It would be nice to tell which is which. Trump was elected by selling himself as an outsider who would drain the swamp - all blatant lies. Voters are gonna have to get smarter.

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

        • icon
          murgatroyd (profile), 28 Jun 2018 @ 8:27am

          Yeah, that's gonna happen. While we're wishing, I'd like a pony.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2018 @ 9:46am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Clinton 1992: "For people for change"
          1992-2000: Exactly as much corruption in politics as before
          Bush 2000: "Reformer with results"
          2000-2008: More of the same.
          Obama 2008: "Hope and change"
          2008-2016: More of the same.
          Trump 2016: "Drain the swamp"
          2016-Present: More of the same.

          If voters haven't figured the trick out by now, I don't think they're going to.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2018 @ 4:17pm

        Re: Re:

        You forget about the career politicians who will do nothing other than collect 'donations' and run for offices they have no chance of winning...

        Sure, some of them may be legit campaigns, but over half are being used to funnel campaign contributions into other ventures (do you really think those posters and balloons cost the $50,000 that the politician's nephew's uncle's sister's company invoiced the campaign for, now do you?)

        So step right up and make your donations to my campaign to run for the Senate (please make all checks out to Campaign Assisting Senate Hearings, or CASH for short). Keep those checks coming, I'm sure we we are going to win one of these races.

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

  • icon
    tom (profile), 28 Jun 2018 @ 7:13am

    Please let this back door attempt to impose net neutrality die.

    Introduce a clean net neutrality bill that only addresses NN. If you don't trust the FCC, make the FTC or some other group the controlling agency.

    Gather bi-partisan support by asking Republicans if they would like liberal ISPs limiting access to sites like the NRA and GOP. Mention to Democrats that red state ISPs might be inclined to limit access to pro-abortion sites.

    Make the case that we all win if we keep ISPs out of the business of picking Internet traffic winners and losers.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2018 @ 7:24am

      Re:

      That is exactly the approach and arguments being made. People aren't listening or are deliberately ignoring it because all they can see is $$$ if they vote against it.

      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, 28 Jun 2018 @ 7:42am

        Re: People ignoring

        - " People aren't listening or are deliberately ignoring"


        How many political/economic issues do Americans face today... and where do you think Net Neutrality ranks on their worry list ?

        It ranks very low even for the small percentage of Americans aware of it.

        This Net Neutrality Obsession (NNO) afflicts few people -- which makes those so afflicted even more stressed & obsessed.

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 28 Jun 2018 @ 8:04am

          Re: Re: People ignoring

          "This Net Neutrality Obsession (NNO) afflicts few people"

          ...but the effects of removing net neutrality will affect every American. They just won't know it until they are truly being fleeced, if they even realise it then.

          "those so afflicted even more stressed & obsessed."

          Yeah, it's like the crap with Brexit. Some of us were going "erm, that's an iceberg, we need to avoid it", but then got shouted down and are forced to watch as it crushes through the hull of the ship. Watching the ship sink exactly as you predicted does tend to be a little stressful, especially when there's the illusion that you can repair the hull.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2018 @ 8:06am

          Re: Re: People ignoring

          And when the ISPs kill the Internet, how will you make you voice heard concerning any issues that you feel strongly for?

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

          • icon
            JMT (profile), 28 Jun 2018 @ 1:12pm

            Re: Re: Re: People ignoring

            ISP's can't "kill the Internet", they can only make the Internet experience for US consumers worse and worse. The Internet will be just fine thanks.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2018 @ 2:43pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: People ignoring

              And just how many self publishing platforms are US owned, and how many of the others are dependent on the US audience?

              Besides which, I was replying to a probably US commenter, and with US ISPs in control, how will they reach the remains of the Internet in the rest of the world, if it does no get balkanized into country wide nets only.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2018 @ 8:11am

          Re: Re: People ignoring

          I was talking specifically about politicians, but nice job projecting your own opinions on to millions of others who disagree with you.

          More regular people are aware and care about it than you think, as evidenced by the massive ground swell of grassroots efforts in support of it.

          As far as calling it an obsession, I think that's pretty telling what you think of it.

          But if you want the internet to become too expensive or slow for most people, or a walled garden of different websites that you have to pay for access to, or that it becomes impossible for small startups to serve the internet at large because they can't afford to pay for fast lanes (or even basic access), or that allows anyone and everyone to see every single thing you do online and track you, then please, by all means, call it an obsession and continue ignoring the problem.

          In the meantime, we'll continue to "obsess" over an amazing tool for freedom of speech and a necessary tool to the majority of Americans' lives being completely destroyed by the greed of big ISPs.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2018 @ 8:52am

          Re: Re: People ignoring

          How many political/economic issues do Americans face today... and where do you think copyright to fund Beyonce ranks on their worry list?

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

    • identicon
      Thad, 28 Jun 2018 @ 7:59am

      Re:

      Introduce a clean net neutrality bill that only addresses NN.

      Oh, okay. I guess that's all it takes.

      I wonder why nobody's thought of that in the past 15 years?

      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, 28 Jun 2018 @ 9:28am

    Got my Popcorn ready

    Lots to butter too!

    Regardless of NN surviving or dying nothing is going to change. The telco's get to keep their monopolies, they still get to fuck you up the ass in billing, and will still be able to falsely call all of their limited packages, unlimited.

    This monumental effort for nothing more than fucking crumbs... what a show!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2018 @ 9:39am

      Re: Got my Popcorn ready

      You obviously know less than zero about what net neutrality actually is and what it's about.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2018 @ 12:51pm

      Re: Got my Popcorn ready

      And yet you still refuse to match you actions with your words and move to a truely regulation free country like Syria.

      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, 28 Jun 2018 @ 9:59am

    Stuck in neutral? Thought neutrality was what you want!

    Evidently Techdirt believes that this wasn't thought out and shopped around before done, but obviously they would have, and so is a done deal.

    the FCC's fraud-riddled net neutrality repeal as

    Not proven, and yet again, the public comments were NEVER to have binding effect, were just to vague idea of what notions were around.

    blatant, facts-optional nonsense

    Linking to your own prior opinion as proof is just childish.

    And yet again, ALL that you have is predictive FUD, and my bet is won't be any change at all that you can pin down to this: the net will go on getting faster and cheaper.

    *OH, you're going to claim later that the prior long-term trend to corporate control is due to this, but who is it that claims "platforms" have arbitrary right to control Public Forums? -- That's right, Masnick / Techdirt. -- Your future use will be dodge blame and project it on to Ajit Pai.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2018 @ 10:25am

      Everyday he's shilling...

      Neutral and neutrality, as used here, are two completely different things. The title is actually a play on words and your poor attempt at using it as a 'gotcha' actually looks worse for you. Learn English.

      Evidently Techdirt believes that this wasn't thought out and shopped around before done, but obviously they would have, and so is a done deal.

      If I'm translating your pig-English correctly, you obviously didn't read the article because it states the exact opposite.

      Not proven

      Only to someone who refuses to live in reality. Such as yourself.

      the public comments were NEVER to have binding effect, were just to vague idea of what notions were around

      Half true. Yes, public comments are not binding on the FCC. However, the FCC is required, by law, to take those comments into consideration and fairly and honestly evaluate the facts and data presented in them and take that into account before issuing a final decision. Something three FCC commissioners couldn't be bothered to do.

      Linking to your own prior opinion as proof is just childish.

      Not when those links contain links back to primary source material. As well as all of this being easily and individually verifiable. Something you obviously haven't done.

      ALL that you have is predictive FUD

      Well all the facts and primary sources they link to would say otherwise. But obviously your world view is facts optional and nonsensical as well.

      my bet is won't be any change at all that you can pin down to this: the net will go on getting faster and cheaper.

      You'll lose that bet if we don't get NN protections.

      "platforms" have arbitrary right to control Public Forums

      Nice try but no cigar. Platforms have the right to control their own services, but they can't control someone else's services. And since they are selling "access to the internet", that's all they get to do. They don't get to choose which parts of the internet you can access. And of course there's also the argument that the internet is so necessary to everyday life now that ISPs should be regulated as public utilities to ensure people get universal internet access, the same as electricity, water, and natural gas.

      Please take your paper thin arguments and strawmen elsewhere. Grownups are talking.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Jun 2018 @ 6:27pm

        Re: Everyday he's shilling...

        Considering how much out_of_the_blue bitches about corporations you'd think he'd be worried about the AT&T merger, but no, he'd rather approve it because "Fuck Google". Never mind that Google wouldn't be affected by the merger one jot.

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

      • icon
        Toom1275 (profile), 1 Jul 2018 @ 6:54am

        Re: Everyday he's shilling...

        Notice also how the troll deliberately mischarachterized "fraud-riddled" as being exclusively about the comment fraud issue; pretending that there isn't also the "ISPs were harmed by NN" fraud, or the not even bothering to prove any massive change to the internet ecosystem that justifies removing NN procedural failure, or the numerous other lies Pai props up his action with (i.e. every statement he's every made on the subject).

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 28 Jun 2018 @ 11:44am

    I find it funny

    That After a bill has been created by 1 or more persons, and then sent to a committee, in their own group or even non-partisan, then DEBATED on the floor, can STILL BE AUGMENTED, Added to, can be CHANGED..Can be changed by a FEW(not the Whole or part of Both group(S)),in the middle of the night when no one is around..and at the VERY last minute after everyone THINKS they know what they are voting on..

    The health care act, started with 300 pages, and after all the committees, and back doors, was over 3000 pages, and at the End they had 72(?) hours to vote on the NEW BILL..Which, I think, they had 2-3 months to ADD 2700 pages to..

    Then after all the debatea, and addons, they can ADD other bills to this MAIN bill, so that once the 1 bill gets passed, 2-3-5-10 others get passed also..

    What is wrong with this picture??

    PS. For extra points when was the First time the National medical was suggested??

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

  • identicon
    Anymouse, 28 Jun 2018 @ 4:08pm

    Written from the perspective of a Congress-critter:

    First they came for the Tax Code, and I did not speak out
    Because I stood to benefit greatly as part of the 1%ers

    Then they came for Consumer Privacy, and I did not speak out
    Because as part of Government, I was protected.

    Then they came for Net Neutrality, and I did not speak out
    because I was beholden to the Companies who bought the laws

    Then they came for me --- and there was no one left to speak for me.

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


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