Challenging the FCC on Net Neutrality
Net Neutrality’s next loss is necessary to save it
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 from others. This made many people angry and has been widely regarded as a bad idea. However, the FCC’s decision constitutes “rulemaking” 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 a 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 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 no chance that the President is going to sign it. And yet it’s critically important.
At the very least, Markey’s CRA challenge will force every senator onto the record on Net Neutrality. If it clears the Senate by a simple majority, it heads to the House, potentially putting all 435 House members on the record.
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. However, 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 congress to the bot to be heard about this or any other issue before Congress.
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.