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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Filed Under: broadband, congressional review act, net neutrality


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  1. 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.


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