Democrats force Senate vote on net neutrality repeal


A Senate bill to undo the Federal Communications Commission's repeal of net neutrality rules will receive a floor vote after gaining its 30th co-sponsor. But if nothing else, it will force Republican lawmakers - many of whom have not been fans of the FCC's new approach to net neutrality - to vote against popular net neutrality rules in an election year. However, now that the commission has released all 539 pages of the final rules, the Internet Association said it would join the coming legal case against them. Today, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) announced that she has signed on to be the 30th co-sponsor.

Thirty senators have now signed on to cosponsor a resolution that would nullify the repeal, MA senator Ed Markey announced Monday on Twitter.

Markey would have to wait until the FCC's action is published in the Federal Register before calling for a vote, but it is unclear when that will happen. In the meantime, net neutrality supporters are also pursuing litigation and state laws. The sponsors for the resolution include 29 Democrats and Bernie Sanders, an independent who votes with the Democrats.

Over in Vermont, Senator Bernie Sanders hasn't made any official moves just yet, but like Senator Bennet, his position is clear.

"We'll be going to court soon to challenge the FCC and ramping up pressure on Congress to throw the rules out altogether..." Previously a seldom-used, obscure law, the CRA was used multiple times previous year to overturn regulations issued in the waning days of the Obama administration.

Although Democrats now have the votes to force the resolution to a vote in the Senate, they have much steeper barriers to getting it enacted. A tie vote would likely mean the deciding vote would be cast by VP Mike Pence, dooming the resolution. Efforts by the aforementioned states to preserve net neutrality rules do exactly this. A University of Maryland poll last month found they were supported by 83% of Americans, including 75% of Republicans. Once the bill goes to a vote, it will still need a majority to pass and then will wind up on Trump's desk, who is unlikely to approve the bill.

Amid the harsh criticism of the repeal from consumer groups including Free Press, Pai on Wednesday pulled out of a planned appearance at this week's CES tech industry convention after reportedly receiving death threats. To do that, the bill will regulate business practices and use net neutrality as a condition in state contracts, cable franchise agreements and agreements that let companies place wireless broadband equipment on utility poles, his office said in a statement.

The opposition to the FCC repeal is mobilizing in a big way.