50 Senate Leaders and 22 States Are Fighting to Revive Net Neutrality

January 22, 2018 - 5 minutes read

By now, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve probably heard about the impending doom that the repeal of net neutrality would bring to society. The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision in December to undo an open, free Internet lives up to the hype (or pessimism) it’s generating.

With only a few weeks left to save the Internet as we know it, 50 Senate members and 22 U.S. state attorneys are stepping forward to stop the FCC’s decision from being enacted.

One Final Attempt

Time is running out for Congress to stop the FCC’s decision to repeal net neutrality. Per the Congressional Review Act, they have 60 days from the date of the decision (Dec. 14) to do it. It’s cutting it close, but all hope isn’t lost yet. Senator Ed Markey announced that all 49 Democrat members of the U.S. Senate chamber were onboard to overturn the FCC.

With Republican Senator Susan Collins also supporting a repeal reversal, that leaves them with half of the 100-person upper chamber. One more vote means they’d have a majority, which is a crucial advantage since Vice President Mike Pence’s vote would break the tie in favor of staying on course to repeal net neutrality.

A One-Sided Battle

Unfortunately, while victory may feel so close, it’s actually still quite far. It’s unlikely that one of the remaining members of the Senate would announce their support of keeping net neutrality now. And even if they did, the Senate’s majority decision would still need to pass the U.S. House of Representatives as well as get signed by President Donald Trump.

Considering the House is currently Republican-majority and Trump supported the FCC’s vote, this is extremely improbable. With Trump more likely to reject the Senate’s decision, it’s important to note that a two-thirds vote of both the upper and lower chambers is needed to overturn a presidential veto.

Pereparing for the Worst-Case Scenario

With the future demise of net neutrality feeling all too certain, 22 U.S. state attorneys general have already filed a petition to challenge the FCC’s decision. The states acknowledged that this was a pre-emptive measure; usually, these types of petitions aren’t filed until a rule is legally enacted. If all goes according to the FCC’s plans, that should be later this year.

The petition, filed in a Washington, D.C. federal appeals court, had the support of Virginia, New York, California, and D.C. itself, among others. The state attorneys condemned the FCC’s vote, considering it, “arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion,” and claimed it was in violation of federal regulations.

Regardless, many are already preparing for a post-net neutrality era. Greg Walden, the House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman, announced that he would hold a hearing to discuss paid prioritization, one of the biggest consumer fears that could become a reality if net neutrality dies. Walden doesn’t seem to see anything wrong with this concept: “Paid prioritization is part of American life. Where do you want to sit on the airplane? Where do you want to sit on Amtrak?”

An Integral Part of American Life

Dogtown Media is proud to support net neutrality and believes that, above paid prioritization, freedom is an integral facet of American life. Being mobile app developers, we can attest to the fact that having an open, free Internet has benefited and accelerated technology to become capable of the amazing feats it can do today.

With that being said, we can also say with certainty that this issue of repealing net neutrality extends far beyond the San Francisco development community; it would have rippling implications for our modern way of life. If this article struck a chord with you, take some time to contact your congressional representative through this link.

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