Democrats in the Senate — and one Republican — took a step Wednesday toward saving net neutrality by forcing the U.S. Senate to vote on whether to overrule a Federal Communications Commission decision to undo open internet protections put in place under President Barack Obama.
The senators are hoping to save the open internet rules through the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to veto rulings by federal agencies. Without congressional action, net neutrality supporters say it will just be a matter of time until the Office of Management and Budget approves the change and they go into effect.
On Wednesday, the group of senators, led by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., filed a discharge petition, a formality needed to trigger a vote on the Senate floor. It was not immediately known when the vote will be scheduled, although the deadline for a vote is June 12.
At its core, net neutrality regulations prohibit internet service providers from engaging in “unfair” practices, including blocking websites, throttling traffic and engaging in paid prioritization, or when an internet provider favors one of site over a competitor’s or offers better access to companies that pay for it.