Senate Democrats, 22 States Fight To Restore Net Neutrality

In the latest developments on the FCC’s repeal of Obama-era net-neutrality legislation, Senate Democrats are on the verge of achieving a majority vote that could eventually restore the consumer protections. At the same time, 22 states are suing to block the FCC’s repeal decision.

On December 14, the FCC voted to remove “common carrier” classification from ISPs. In removing the classification, the FCC removed its jurisdiction over ISPs. This gives them greater freedom to selectively throttle internet traffic to push their own content, effectively ending net neutrality. The FCC argued that the heavy-handed regulation stifled investment and that it was formally the role of the FTC to resolve any unscrupulous practices by ISPs. The move was viewed by many, however, as the result of lobbying efforts from the major carriers.

The build up to the vote was marked by substantial public and Senatorial resistance. One of the big cases for the opposition was New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s investigation into the possibly compromised public-hearing process for the decision. Internet protests and calls to halt the vote ultimately fell on deaf ears. Three weeks after the vote, the FCC formally released its plan to absolve itself from maintaining oversight of ISPs, giving them the ability to start building internet fast and slow lanes. The struggle to preserve net neutrality is still alive and well, however.

Senate One Vote From First Step In Overturning Repeal

Senator Ed Markey (D-HI) announced on Twitter that Senate Democrats are one vote away from being able to pass a Congressional Review Act (CRA) of the FCC’s decision. The CRA allows Congress to overrule any federal legislation within 60 days of its creation. Currently, the CRA has 50 of the 51 votes needed to pass in the Senate. The votes to pass it come from all 47 Democratic Senators, both independent Senators, and one Republican Senator. Senate Democrats are now calling for one more Republican to join their cause.

For the overruling to actually occur, however, the CRA will also have to pass in the House of Representatives, of which the Republicans currently have greater control. Providing it gets through the House, the CRA would ultimately land on the President’s desk to be signed into law. We don’t know if Trump would actually refuse signing it, but that could effectively veto it.

22 States Sign On To Sue FCC

In a separate and unrelated development, the attorneys general of 21 states have signed on with Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson to file a petition to appeal the FCC’s decision. The appeal is just the first move so states can try to independently block the repeal of net neutrality, says the Washington State Office of the Attorney General.

The petition is the first step by states to attempt to block the FCC’s decision, and it will allow the attorneys general to move forward with the appeal in the future.The attorneys general allege that the FCC decision violates the Administrative Procedure Act, which governs the process for federal agency rulemaking. The states also challenge the decision, stating that it violates the Constitution and the Communications Act of 1934.

The appeal follows Schneiderman’s earlier announcement, made on the day of the December 14 vote, that he would “lead a multistate lawsuit to stop the rollback of net neutrality.”

  • motocros1
    don't people know anything the government gets involved in causes the exact opposite effect to happen then what they wanted to.
  • dark_lord69
    Stupid net neutrality repeal my porn is already buffering all the time. LOL
  • teslacoilftw
    "Washington D.C. Attorney General Bob Ferguson to file a petition to appeal the FCC’s decision."
    Bob Ferguson is actually Washington States Attorney General.. Not Washington D.C.
  • moonhutch9
    Has anyone noticed that almost all the states are run by Democrats . All Democrats Senators except one Rhino Republican are against the repeal .This is not bi-partisan ! People need to get there group think out of libtardville and look up the facts about NN ! Do i need to post links on this to wake you up ? For one , the FCC and the Government needs to stay out of our Internet . 2 . I believe that NN gave rise to Google , Facebook & Twitters censorship . There are lawsuits pending and beginning on those matters . Ask yourselves ,do you want them to be regulated as utilities ? DO RESEARCH !!
  • Gregory_3
    Bah! This a regulatory agency. By what avenue is anyone going to reverse this. The only way a far as I can see to re-establish this foolishness is by a majority act of Congress passed in both houses. The states can shriek all they wish, but they have no ability to change Federal regulation. This is all raw hysteria.
  • moonhutch9
    Tom's Hardware , since you seam to be on the side of the Democrats on this , i will be unsubscribing and such .
  • jdog2pt0
    20606314 said:
    don't people know anything the government gets involved in causes the exact opposite effect to happen then what they wanted to.

    Yes because giving the corporations unlimited control has worked so well in the past.

    And on a side note, it looks like even Tom's isn't immune to the FCC's paid shills. I remember how excited everyone was to have NN put in place. Personal attack on a previous poster removed Is nobody capable of independent thought anymore? Are you all just dumb slaves to whatever party happens to be your fancy at that particular moment, and therefore unable to form an argument of your own other than "well X supports this, therefore I must not". NN isn't stifling competition, if anything it's doing the exact opposite. It's also been stated many times that having NN in effect does not prevent new ISP's from entering the field. No, what's stopping them is all of your buddies at Comcast, TWC, etc that sue them into inexistence. The same corporations that are desperately pushing to keep NN repealed.
  • Dantte
    This article is a gross misrepresentation of the facts and truth. Lets start with the very first paragraph...

    "NN legislation" first of all, there never was and has never been any "legislation". NN was created by Obama and his chronies with the wave of his magic pen. Its not law and can be undone in the exact same way... and it was! Any lawsuit brought against it will fail. You want NN, it needs to be passed as a law, period!
  • mihen
    Man all this non-neutral internet has really affected me this past month. My ISP raised my speeds from 300 MB/s to 1 GB/s. They also didn't touch my bill and haven't blocked my access to anything.

    Also you can't sue a regulatory agency into adding regulations. Seriously have these guys taken a civics class before? The only avenue of the lawsuit is to repeal the rule which forbids states from enacting net-neutrality rules.
  • photonboy
    Even if what you say is true, do you really think an ISP is going to give away more bandwidth for the same money to everybody? Makes no sense.

    Do you guys even know what's going on in other countries without Net Neutrality?

    In some countries you have to pay for STEAM and NETFLIX individually just to have access. So you pay NETFLIX itself like normal, but also pay your ISP a monthly fee to use it... that's what "gated access" is like. Glad everybody thinks that's great.