Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) has introduced legislation to reverse the FCC’s recently published order and reestablish 2015’s net neutrality rules. Although the bill has little chance of reaching the president’s desk, let alone being signed into law, it’s an important step in the long-term battle over how the internet is to be regulated.
The bill is introduced by way of the Congressional Review Act, which lets Congress reverse recent decisions made by federal agencies via an expedited legislative process. Senator Markey and others had to wait, like everyone else, for the FCC’s new rule to be entered into the Federal Register.
It’s only expedited, however, in that it requires fewer signatures in the Senate to force a full vote, and that it doesn’t have to be scheduled on the legislative calendar. Beyond that it’s still as difficult to pass as any normal bill.
Fortunately, all 49 Democrat-voting Senators and one Republican (Sen. Susan Collins) are on board — they’re working to gin up one more vote to put it over the top. Here are the Senators who have committed:
The corresponding House bill has 150 cosponsors right now, not enough to pass but enough to make it credible.
With Congress dominated by Republicans and a president hostile to the previous rules, the CRA effort is almost certainly doomed — but that doesn’t mean it will have failed. Getting every legislator on the record voting for or against the bill will make the net neutrality debate more than theoretical, and hopefully put it on the map for the 2018 elections.