United States net neutrality bill advances in the Senate

Net Neutrality graffiti on a brick wall

Today's the big day for the Senate's big push to undo the FCC's "Restoring Internet Freedom" order nullifying 2015's net neutrality rules.

The latest call to action followed similar rallying cries in recent days, as senators who oppose the FCC's December repeal of net neutrality rules have prepared to bring the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to the senate floor for a vote.

The US Senate on Wednesday is scheduled to vote on whether to reinstate the Federal Communications Commission's net-neutrality rules. Wednesday's vote follows Senate Democrats' successful filing of a discharge petition to put Senator Markey's resolution of disapproval on the Senate's legislative calendar, allowing any Senator to force a vote on the legislation. Or will they stick to the party and leave it to be decided by a tie-breaker vote nearly certain to go in their favor?

It needs to receive the support of just one more senator with clear the chamber with a simple majority.

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Demonstrators rally outside the Federal Communication Commission building to protest against the end of net neutrality rules on December 14, 2017 in Washington, DC.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who voted in favor of the new rules, has argued that they will support future innovation and dismissed opponents' claims that they could impact internet services.

The new rules require internet providers to tell consumers whether they will block or slow content or offer paid "fast lanes".

"The repeal of net neutrality is not only a blow to the average consumer, but it is a blow to public schools, rural Americans, communities of color and small businesses", Schumer said. In surveys, solid majorities say they support the principle of net neutrality generally, and the FCC's rules in particular. And given the White House's endorsement of the FCC's repeal, analysts say, it is unlikely that Trump will sign the resolution to make it effective.

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Broken down by political party, 89 percent of Democrats opposed the repeal, along with 75 percent of Republicans, suggesting GOP candidates will face a hard choice when it comes to publicly siding with the Trump administration or voters on the issue during what could be a hard midterm season for Republicans.

Senate lawmakers are expected to vote Wednesday on a resolution that aims to undo a sweeping act of deregulation undertaken a year ago by the Federal Communications Commission - and issue a rebuke to the Trump administration, which supported the FCC's move.

For almost all of the past 10 years, the FCC has had in place rules that sought to guarantee net-neutrality protections. "May 16 will be the most important vote for the internet in the history of the Senate, and I call on my Republicans colleagues to join this movement and stand on the right side of digital history". Susan Collins (R-Maine) is the only Republican who has pledged to support net neutrality.

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