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Senate keeps net neutrality alive with a 52-47 vote; next stop, the House

Posted: , by Alan Friedman

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Senate keeps net neutrality alive with a 52-47 vote; next stop, the House
With the life of net neutrality hanging in the balance, the Senate voted 52-47 to repeal the misleadingly named "Restoring Internet Freedom Order" that actually would eliminate the Obama-era regulation. Net neutrality prevents ISPs and wireless carriers from discriminating against certain content by blocking its dissemination, or by charging content providers for access to a faster data stream (See the illustration at the top of this story). With net neutrality in effect, ISPs and wireless operators are forced to treat all content the same.

Since January, it was apparent that all 49 Democrats would vote to keep net neutrality alive, and Senator Susan Collins (Maine-R) would cross the aisle. But a 50-50 tie was as good as a defeat for the Democrats since Vice President Mike Pence would cast the tie breaking vote. However, Senator John Kennedy (Louisiana-R) and Senator Lisa Murkowski (Alaska-R) also voted in favor of the Congressional Rule Act vote. Under the CRA, a regulation approved by an agency, in this case the FCC, can be overturned by Congress. The FCC plans on eliminating net neutrality on June 11th unless the CRA passes.

The Senate vote was the easy part for supporters of net neutrality, which includes the majority of Americans. The CRA now moves to the House of Representatives where only 160 Democrats have pledged support for it among the 435 House members. And even if it passes the house, the CRA will no doubt be vetoed by President Donald Trump.


Interestingly, net neutrality has turned into a campaign issue. Some Democrats running in the mid-term elections are planning to use net neutrality as a way to differentiate themselves from the Republicans. The Democrats also hope that the issue gets millions of young voters to cast a vote this November.

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