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Senate Democrats Close to Majority on Vote to Restore Net Neutrality Rules

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats appear to be just one vote shy of garnering enough votes for passage of a resolution to reverse the FCC’s repeal of most of its net neutrality rules, but even that does not mean that the regulations will be restored.

On Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said all 49 members of their caucus support a resolution to overturn last month’s FCC vote that rolled back rules that prohibit ISPs from blocking or throttling web traffic, or selling “fast lanes” to content companies for speedier access to consumers. One Republican, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), said she would also vote for the resolution.

But even if the resolution were to pass the Senate, it would still need a majority vote in the House and the signature of President Donald Trump.

Democrats see net neutrality as a 2018 midterm campaign issue, and are anxious to put Republicans on record, and to characterize them as defending the interests of major cable and telecom companies.

“When we force a vote on this bill, Republicans in Congress will, for the first time, have the opportunity to right the administration’s wrong and show the American people whose side they’re on: Big ISPs and major corporations or consumers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners,” Schumer said in a statement.

Senate Democrats can force a vote within 60 days after the FCC’s measure is published in the Federal Register. The procedural maneuver is allowed under the terms of the Congressional Review Act. Earlier this year, Republicans used the Review Act to roll back internet privacy regulations that were passed during the final months of the Obama-era FCC.

The FCC’s move to repeal many of the net neutrality rules are also expected to be challenged in court by state attorneys general and public interest groups. Major internet companies like Google, Facebook, and Netflix will support the litigation through their trade group, the Internet Association.

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