Since the FCC, lead by Chairman Ajit Pai, voted to repeal Obama-era laws protecting net neutrality on Dec. 14, the Senate had 60 legislative days under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to challenge the decision, The Washington Post reports.
Just last Tuesday, they had 40 senators sign off on the resolution to reverse the repeal. Now, they’ve totalled at 50 votes — all 49 Democratic senators and one Republican, Susan Collins of Maine, have signed off — and need to get to a majority ruling of 51 to pass.
“[Collins] believes that a careful, deliberative process involving experts and the public is warranted to ensure that consumers have strong protections that guarantee consumer choice, free markets, and continued growth,” a spokesperson for the senator told the Bangor Daily News.
As it stands, they are one Republican vote short. As Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) tweeted Tuesday morning: “Democrats are united; we will force a vote to save net neutrality, but we need a majority to do it. RT to tell Republicans to vote YES on the net neutrality CRA.”
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 16, 2018
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who proposed the resolution, also took to Twitter Tuesday morning, writing, “Senate Dems are standing with the millions of Americans who have raised their voices in favor of Net Neutrality. The Internet should belong to YOU, not the GOP’s corporate cronies.”
— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) January 16, 2018
Right after the Dec. 14 net neutrality vote, he tweeted a preview of the CRA resolution:
I plan to introduce a Congressional Review Act resolution that would restore the Open Internet Order and reverse the @FCC’s historic mistake of repealing #NetNeutrality. This fight is far from over. pic.twitter.com/FTyqf1U83X
— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) December 14, 2017
However, even if they did get a majority vote — just one more person to sign off — the bill would next have to go through the Republican-led House and would need to be signed by Trump, who has been very vocal about his support of the Dec. 14 ruling.
Markey predicted, according to Variety, that if the resolution made its way to the House, the vote could be as far away as “late spring or summer” even.
So, it’s safe to say that for Democrats, the fight is far from over, and it’ll be a hard battle to win.
If they don’t succeed, the effects of the net neutrality repeal won’t take root right away, but they’ll gradually make themselves known.
As Glenn O’Donnell, an industry analyst at the research firm Forrester, wrote in a statement to The Washington Post: “You and I and everyone else who uses the Internet for personal use will see some changes in pricing models. For most of us, I expect we will pay more. Service bundles (e.g., social media package, streaming video package) will likely be bolted on to basic transport for things like web surfing and email.”
To find out more about how we’ll be affected given CRA resolution against the repeal turns out for the worst, check out Metro’s exclusive interview with a net neutrality expert.
“Make no mistake about it, net neutrality will be a major issue in the 2018 campaigns, and we are going to let everybody know where we stand and they stand,” Schumer said at a press conference last week, adding, “We are going to be fighting to save a free and open internet, while Republicans are fighting to hand it over to corporations.”
For now, we’re waiting. But we won’t hold our breath for long.