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Senate Democrats call for House vote to save net neutrality

The clock is ticking on net neutrality's end.

The House hasn't acted after the Senate voted on a ruling that would overturn the FCC's roll back of net neutrality. 
Marguerite Reardon/CNET

The rollback of net neutrality is officially set to take place on Monday, and Senate Democrats are wondering why the House hasn't taken action yet. 

In a joint letter, all 49 Senate Dems urged House Speaker Paul Ryan to schedule a vote on the Congressional Review Act, which would overturn the Federal Communication Commission's decision to end the current rules governing net neutrality. It also set up a site with a ticking clock that notes the time that's passed since the Senate voted last month in favor of the CRA, which gave hope to net neutrality proponents. 

Both the House and President Donald Trump need to sign off on the CRA for it to take effect. The Republicans, who have generally sided against net neutrality regulations, have a larger majority in the House, and it's unlikely that Trump would countermand FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, his appointee. 

Democrats, however, have been pushing for a vote on net neutrality because they want to get every congressman's position on the record. Net neutrality could be a potential issue that comes up in the upcoming mid-term elections later this year. 

A spokesman for Ryan wasn't immediately available for comment. 

Here's a full copy of the letter:

Dear Speaker Ryan:

We write today to urge you to schedule a vote on S.J.Res. 52, a resolution to overturn the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) repeal of the agency's 2015 net neutrality rules. This measure, which passed the Senate by a powerful 52-47 bipartisan vote, will restore internet protections and ensure consumers continue to experience a free and open internet.

The rules that this resolution would restore were enacted by the FCC in 2015 to prevent broadband providers from blocking, slowing down, prioritizing, or otherwise unfairly discriminating against internet traffic that flows across their networks. Without these protections, broadband providers can decide what content gets through to consumers at what speeds and could use this power to discriminate against their competitors or other content. Under this new regime, the internet would no longer be a level playing field. Instead, big corporations who could pay would enjoy the benefits of a fast lane and speedy delivery of their content to consumers while those who could not pay these tolls – such as startups and small businesses, schools, rural Americans, and communities of color – would be disadvantaged.

In issuing the 2015 net neutrality rules, the FCC delivered a message that the choice of what consumers can access online, and the speed at which they can access it, should be kept solely in the hands of those consumers, not the big broadband providers.  By passing S.J.Res. 52, the Senate affirmed that message and stood with the nearly 86 percent of Americans across the country who disagreed with the current FCC's December 2017 decision to repeal net neutrality and fear its impact on their livelihood. Now that the Senate has taken this critical step, it is incumbent on the House of Representatives to listen to the voices of consumers, including the millions of Americans who supported the FCC's 2015 net neutrality order, and keep the internet free and open for all.

As we approach the June 11th formal implementation date of the FCC's net neutrality repeal, we strongly urge you to take up and pass S. J. Res. 52. It is essential that you take this step to protect middle-class families, consumers, farmers, communities of color, entrepreneurs and all who rely on the free and open internet.


Senate Democratic Caucus

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