January 09, 2018

Challenging the FCC on Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality’s next loss is necessary to save it

by Chris Thomas

Photo by James Padolsey

Back in December, the FCC abdicated its responsibilities under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, opening the path for ISPs to begin treating data from some websites differently than data from others. This made a lot of people very angry, and has been widely regarded as a bad idea. However, the FCC’s decision constitutes “rule making” as defined by another piece of legislation: The Congressional Review Act.

The CRA lays out an expedited path for Congress to challenge policy-making decisions in the executive branch. Congress has always had that ability but the CRA is important because it streamlines the process. CRA challenges can’t be filibustered and, if they have at least 30 supporters, can’t be locked up in Senate committee.

And of course, there is a CRA challenge to the FCC’s rule-making under Title II of the 1934 communications act. The Senate Joint Resolution, set forth by Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), has reached a critical mass of 30 co-sponsors meaning that the Senate leadership can no longer keep it bottled up in committee. Markey’s CRA challenge to preserve Net Neutrality will go to the Senate floor.

Now to be absolutely clear here — this is going to fail.

There is very little chance that Senator Markey’s measure gets through the Senate, even less that it clears the House. There is absolutely no chance that the President is going to sign it. And yet it’s critically important.

Markey’s CRA challenge will, at the very least, force every senator onto the record on Net Neutrality. If it clears the Senate by simple majority it heads to the House, potentially putting all 435 House members on the record as well.

Markey’s challenge is important, not because it can pass, but because the Net Neutrality issue is radioactive. 83% of Americans opposed the FCC’s decision to scrap Net Neutrality rules, including 75% of Republicans and 86% of independents. So long as the FCC’s decision remains that of a bunch of faceless Washington bureaucrats, the political damage will be limited, but if Senators and Representatives have to vote on the issue, they’ll be forced to choose between what their constituents want and what their party did.

November is coming.

Tell Congress what you think!

Net Neutrality is the critical First Amendment issue of the 21st century. Text RESIST to 50409 to tell your Representatives or Senators what you think about this or any other issue before Congress. If you’d rather use Facebook Messenger, [Twitter](#OneMoreVote to go. Send "resist" to me as a direct message to write to your Senator now. https://twitter.com/messages/compose?recipient_id=835740314006511618 /challenging-the-fcc-on-net-neutrality-dcf0f36210aa), or Telegram, do that and say RESIST to contact your government. Finally, check here to find protests in support of Net Neutrality you can join.

More on Net Neutrality

Want to learn more about Net Neutrality and the fight to save it? Check out these articles from the Resistbot archives.

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