Senate poised for Net Neutrality Vote to Reinstate

It seems a Senate Net Neutrality vote to override the FCC repeal is now on the docket. We previously talked about the Senate’s effort to reinstate this controversial ruling from the Obama era. Massachusetts Democratic Senator Ed Markey continues to lead the charge on the issue in Congress. “This is the fight for the internet,” he commented to reporters.

Ajit_V._Pai_official_photo_(cropped)
FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

News about the upcoming Net Neutrality vote appeared this week in CNN, among other sources. Read further to see if the issue is expected to get solved once and for all, or is it simply an acute case of politics. If you want to learn more about how it affects your Internet usage, check out our primer.

Wide Bipartisan Support for Net Neutrality among Voters

Ultimately, it appears the effort to reinstate Net Neutrality is mostly ceremonial. Even, if the Senate votes to overturn FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s ruling to repeal Net Neutrality, the bill still needs to go to the House and eventually the President for final approval. Clearing those last two hurdles remains unlikely.

The most important point in this process involves the wide bipartisan support for Net Neutrality rules among voters. Over 80 percent support the principles of a free and open Internet. So, in a midterm election year, getting the votes of Congress on the record appears to be the goal.

Notably, the House gets until the end of the year to cast their vote, so delaying things until after Election Day is likely. According to Congressional Review Act rules, the Senate vote needs to take place by June 12th.

All Senate Democrats are expected to vote to overturn the FCC repeal. Enough Republican support – Susan Collins of Maine for instance – ensures its passage in the Senate. Of course, both the U.S. Government and Federal Communications Commission work in mysterious ways.

Ed Markey Confident about the Net Neutrality Bill’s Ultimate Passage

Even as most political pundits feel the CRA Net Neutrality vote is simply window dressing, Senator Markey remains confident. “Our intent is to have it pass in the Senate, the momentum is building. We expect there to be some considerable momentum coming out of the Senate and 160 will quickly grow towards the 218 that we need to have a vote over there as well,” said Markey.

So even if the reinstatement bill passes the House, what about the President? “When we pass this in the Senate, when we pass it in the House of Representatives, when it’s clear the electorate is at 86% favorable for this issue, that we would have a political firestorm throughout this country if President Trump announced that he was going to veto that said protections, replacing it with exactly nothing,” the Senator said.

No matter who wins, expect a strong dose of Washington political theater. Internet service providers are also taking notice. Count on additional coverage in Bandwidth Place, since this is an issue impacting your family’s Internet usage.