Will Dems Be Able to Preserve Net Neutrality After All?

The impending death of net neutrality looked pretty much set in stone, but congressional Democrats are giving it another shot to live on. On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate will hold a vote to reverse the FEC’s previous decision. Can net neutrality be spared after all?

I don’t want to get anyone’s hopes up – the answer to that question is “probably not.” Although the initiative is likely to succeed in the Senate where it has the support of every Democrat as well as Republican Senator Susan Collins (making it a 50-49 vote with John McCain absent,) it will have a much bigger hurdle to clear in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

Nevertheless, the vote would still be a win for Democrats. 83 percent of Americans want to maintain net neutrality, so it’d be smart for lefty legislators to take a stand on this issue rather than rolling over on it so easily.

The internet is awash with think pieces about how the Democratic Party needs to take stances on issues other than general opposition to President Donald Trump. Here’s a chance for Democrats to latch onto a popular issue and prove it is listening to the will of the American people.

Inevitably some will argue that it’s a useless political exercise if it cannot pass in the House, but never forget that House Republicans voted to repeal or amend Obamacare over 50 times knowing full well that the Senate wouldn’t follow suit. Symbolic gestures are the norm.

Besides, preserving net neutrality is, plainly, the right thing to do. House Republicans haven’t felt the same pressure yet, and if the House ultimately decides not to pass it, let those representatives have to explain why they’re standing with corporate profits instead of their constituents (including the 75 percent of Republicans want net neutrality.)

With so many tight races in this November’s midterms, there are potentially some conservative lawmakers that will break the party line to preserve net neutrality. That, or they could hand their Democratic opponents another easy criticism for their campaigns.

Even if enough Republicans switch their votes, the reversal would still head to President Donald Trump for his signature. Alas, Trump has seemed pleased with FEC Chair Ajit Pai’s work so it’s unlikely that he’d have a change of heart on this move that surely had the president’s blessing.

If the Democrats’ quest doesn’t succeed, net neutrality is slated to formally end on June 11.  Without neutrality rules, internet companies could put data caps on internet subscriptions, charge more to visit certain websites and intentionally slow the speed on other sites. We’ll have to see how quickly internet providers decide to take advantage of this regulatory freedom, but it will not be good for Americans who enjoy a free and open internet.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

30 comments

David F
David F5 months ago

Debbi W tell us of a government price control that did not reduce supply, stifle growth, stifle innovation and injure the poorest first. see "Venezuela"

Net neutrality is translated to a "government taxable utility" "Less freedom".

The internet has developed at an amazing pace without the government interference.

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara5 months ago

th

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Winn A
Winn Adams5 months ago

Noted

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Winn A
Winn Adams5 months ago

Thanks

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Peggy B
Peggy B5 months ago

TYFS

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Danuta W
Danuta W5 months ago

thank you for posting

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Debbi W
Debbi W5 months ago

If you have a republican rep. in the House, Call that person, plead your case for Net Neutrality. It isn't fair that the top 20% can afford the fastest speeds, while people with the lowest incomes and most students will be slogging along with the slowest connections. It could take minutes to send an email instead of seconds.

Call your republican House Reps. and point out that 83% of the people want Net Neutrality. We fought to get it, and the repubs. should not be able to rob us of it because it's another hand-out to a few corporations at the expense of the majority!

trump wants to defund the Post Office, too. IF he manages to cut our ability to communicate freely, we will lose our freedom. He wants total control, just like Hitler had, and like other dictators and tyrants.

David F., bot idiot, Net Neutrality is about Comcast and Verizon, probably AT&T, too, charging higher fees to high speed connections, not the amount or frequency of use.

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David F
David F5 months ago

Net neutrality is a liberal invented propaganda term that coined in order to sway low information voters into thinking it is some kind of fairness proposal.

In fact it's anything but fairness, the massive new government regulations have driven small Internet providers out of providing service for rule areas and less affluent inner-city neighborhoods.
It makes no sense that very low data users should pay the same as very high data users.
This is the governments underhanded plot to raise massive new Taxes an stifle progress, freedoms and affordability we now take for Granted.

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Alea C
Alea C5 months ago

The Senate voted to protect net neutrality, but don't get too excited, as next up is the House. Of course then it will have to get Trump's signature, so we're still screwed.

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Cathy B
Cathy B5 months ago

Thank you.

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