Schumer Promises Vote On Net Neutrality In Senate

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Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer of New York has stated the upper chamber of Congress will get a chance to vote on reinstating net neutrality.

Schumer argued that senators should support the overturning of the Federal Communications Commission's Dec. 14 move to repeal net neutrality, according to The Hill.

Net neutrality prohibited internet service providers from slowing down access to certain websites, or demanding payment to speed up service to a particular site.

Schumer noted that the initiative "doesn't need the support of the majority leader."

"We can bring it to the floor and force a vote," said Schumer. "So, there will be a vote to repeal the rule that the FCC passed."

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The mechanism Democrats intend to use is the Congressional Review Act, which enables Congress to undo agency rules with majority votes in the Senate and House.

"It's in our power to do that and that's the beauty of the CRA rule," added Schumer. "Sometimes we don't like them, when they used it to repeal some of the pro-environmental regulations, but now we can use the CRA to our benefit, and we intend to."

Schumer was referring to votes by Republicans to overturn environmental regulations adopted during the Obama administration.

Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts has vowed to introduce a bill in the Senate, while Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania is planning a companion measure in the House.

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Markey commented that Republican senators would "have a choice -- be on the right side of history and stand with the American people who support net neutrality, or hold hands with big corporations who only want to increase their profits at the expense of consumers and our economy."

The Democratic initiative may have a tough time of getting accepted, as the GOP holds majorities in both chambers of Congress. One Republican in the Senate, Sen. Susan Collins, has indicated she opposes the abolition of net neutrality. However, she has not said whether she would back the Democrats' proposal.

Prominent broadband providers, like Comcast and AT&T, have promised not to make alterations to the user experience on their services, according to The New York Times. They will likely be careful with changing service plans to avoid angering customers or drawing unwelcome attention from lawmakers.

In the longer term, providers could create fast lanes for content or charge companies more to transmit their content.

Ajit Pai, who was appointed to chair the FCC by President Donald Trump, said the removal of net neutrality was the right thing to do for consumers. He stated that transparency would ensure they are aware of any practices being carried out by internet providers, and if they do not like them, consumers can switch to another provider.

Sources: The Hill, The New York Times / Featured Image: U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Flickr / Embedded Images: Ktr101/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons, Federal Communications Commission/Wikimedia Commons

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