Back in December, the FCC confirmed internet users’ fears when it voted to repeal net neutrality rules, but yesterday saw the US Senate vote to overturn the decision. While this might sound like reason to celebrate, the bill still faces tougher challenges ahead.
Wednesday’s Senate vote on a resolution to reinstate net neutrality protections ended 52 in favor and 47 against. Democrats are using the Congressional Review Act to try and reverse the FCC’s repeal. The CRA allows Congress to reverse recent decisions made by government agencies.
All 49 Democrats voted in favor, as did three Republican Senators: Susan Collins, of Maine; John Kennedy, of Louisiana; and Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska.
BREAKING: We just won the vote in the Senate on #NetNeutrality. Thanks to everyone for pushing so hard. We have more work to do but this is an excellent beginning.— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) 16 May 2018
"This is a turning point in the movement," said Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz, according to CNET.
While the vote is a victory for the Democrats and will be welcomed by those calling for net neutrality to be reinstated, the chances of it actually happening remain very slim. The bill will now move to the House of Representatives, where House Democrats must collect signatures from a full majority of the House—instead of just 30—to use the CRA and bring the issue up for vote. It will then need the support of every Democrat and 22 Republicans. And even if that unlikely scenario comes to pass, it still needs to be signed off by President Trump.
One person who definitely hasn’t welcomed the Senate vote is FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. "The Internet was free and open before 2015, when the prior FCC buckled to political pressure from the White House and imposed utility-style regulation on the Internet," he said in a statement. "And it will continue to be free and open once the Restoring Internet Freedom Order takes effect on June 11."
Even if the resolution fails, many states, including California and New York, are doing all they can to fight back against the FCC's decision with their own net neutrality proposals.