Democrats introduce legislation to protect net neutrality

Democratic senators introduce resolution to undo FCC action on net neutrality.
(Image credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Democratic lawmakers introduced legislation to protect net neutrality Tuesday, after the Federal Communications Commission released its plans to repeal the internet access regulations last week. The net neutrality rules, instituted by the Obama administration in 2015, ostensibly force telecommunications companies to treat all online content equally by precluding them from charging content creators to load their content.

Supporters of net neutrality contend that removing the rules will allow companies to elevate certain content providers who are willing and able to pay a higher price. President Trump's FCC voted to repeal the rules in December under the leadership of Chairman Ajit Pai, in order to return freedom to internet service providers.

On Tuesday, Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) introduced a bill that would reverse the FCC's decision to repeal net neutrality and restore the Obama-era rules. It has the support of 50 lawmakers — including Republican Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), The Hill reported — which means if the Democrats can convert one more Republican senator, they could prevent a filibuster and pass the law.

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In the House, meanwhile, Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Penn.) has introduced his own legislation similar to Markey's. The measure has the support of 150 Democrats but no Republicans, indicating that even if Markey's bill could pass the upper chamber it is unlikely to pass the House. Even if it did, Trump is unlikely to sign it, Politico reported.

But that isn't stopping Democrats. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) plans to push net neutrality restoration to a vote in the coming months using the Congressional Review Act, which requires only 30 senators to back a bill in order to bring it to a vote. Schumer said that Democrats will make this a "major issue" for the 2018 midterm elections, Politico reported.

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