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Senate Democrats urge Paul Ryan to hold net neutrality vote

Democrats are pushing for a vote on the House floor ahead of Monday’s end to net neutrality rules

Photo (c) dkfielding - Getty Images
With net neutrality rules slated to come to an end on Monday, Senate Democrats are urging House Speaker Paul Ryan to schedule a vote on the Congressional Review Act (CRA) that could preserve existing net neutrality rules.

In the letter, all 49 Senate Democrats called on Ryan to allow the House to vote on the bill.

"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," the letter said.

"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."

Senate voted to save net neutrality

Last month, the Senate voted to overturn the FCC’s net neutrality ruling by a vote of 52 to 47. However, the vote in favor of the CRA was mostly symbolic. Both the House, which is comprised of a Republican majority, and President Donald Trump need to sign off on the CRA in order for it to take effect.

House Democrats will need the support of at least 25 Republicans in order to force a vote and pass the resolution. If passed, President Trump would need to provide final executive approval, which isn’t likely since he has said that he agrees with the FCC’s policy.

Although it may be a long shot, Democrats are still fighting.

"More than 170 representatives have already indicated their support for the same resolution in the House," advocacy group Demand Progress said. "Two hundred and eighteen signatures are needed in order to force the [Congressional Review Act] resolution to the floor, increasingly within reach following the bipartisan vote in the Senate."

Protecting the average consumer

Proponents of net neutrality have called the FCC’s decision “disastrous” for its potential impact on the average consumer and middle-class family.

“The internet should be kept free and open like our highways, accessible and affordable to every American, regardless of ability to pay,” Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said. “The repeal of net neutrality is not only a blow to the average consumer, but it is a blow to public schools, rural Americans, communities of color and small businesses.”

Senate Democrats expressed similar sentiments in their letter, which was sent on Thursday.

"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," the letter said.

"It is essential that you take this step to protect middle-class families, consumers, farmers, communities of color, entrepreneur, and all who rely on the free and open internet.”

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