Brown: Net Neutrality Vote Could Bring More Pressure on GOP

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y. accompanied by Sen. Ed Markey D-Mass. right and Rep. Anna Eshoo D-Calif. left laugh during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington Wednesday

Last year, however, the commission's new Republican majority voted not just to rescind those rules, but effectively to drop all efforts by the FCC to preserve net neutrality. Senate Democrats are now whipping up this base ahead of a phony vote on Wednesday, and the ironies are many. Passage of the resolution by the Senate and the House would offer a chance to void the Republican-controlled FCC's 3-2 vote.

One of the reasons why the FCC made a decision to end its net neutrality protection is because the agency believes that its authority extends only in the regulation of broadband networks, whereas websites and services are under the domain of the Federal Trade Commission.

But major hurdles still face supporters of net neutrality, the principle that Internet Service Providers should give consumers access to all legal content and applications on an equal basis, not favoring some sources or blocking others.

But many politicians are convinced the issue will help motivate younger people to vote in the 2018 congressional elections and numerous polls show overwhelming public support for retaining the Obama-era net neutrality rules.

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Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., speaks during a news conference on a petition to force a vote on net neutrality on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

Republicans voting for the measure included Susan Collins, of Maine, John Kennedy, of Louisiana, and Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska.

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., called it a "highly politicized campaign" that was filled with "fear-mongering hypotheticals, misdirection and outright false claims". "On June 11, we will have a framework in place that encourages innovation and investment in our nation's networks so that all Americans, no matter where they live, can have access to better, cheaper, and faster Internet access and the jobs, opportunities, and platform for free expression that it provides", said FCC Chairman AjitPai in a recent statement.

Senator Hassan speaks with Stonyfield employees about the negative impact that repealing net neutrality would have on rural businesses.

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The FCC decided in 2015 to reclassify internet service providers as common carriers under a 1996 law.

"The next 24 hours could make or break this fight.This is a moment where the entire Internet needs to go all-in for net neutrality", wrote Greer. Many Republicans consider these requirements burdensome for internet providers, and that competition in an open market will allow industry players to self-govern.

For almost all of the past 10 years, the FCC has had in place rules that sought to guarantee net-neutrality protections. According to data provided by Google, net neutrality regularly ranks among top political searches in each state.

A House companion to the Senate measure, by Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa., has 161 co-sponsors, all Democrats. He believes the issue will energize Democratic voters in the midterm elections and help the party capture seats now held by Republicans. While the FCC is an independent government agency, it is overseen by Congress.

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