Kicking off a 48-hour countdown to what he described as the "the most important vote for the internet in the history of the Senate," Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) announced Monday that the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to restore federal net neutrality rules gutted by the GOP-controlled FCC last year will be officially brought to the floor on Wednesday.
"By passing my CRA resolution to put net neutrality back on the books, we can send a clear message to American families that we support them, not the special interest agenda of President Trump and his broadband baron allies," Markey said in a statement. "From the GOP tax scam, to attacks on the Affordable Care Act, to rolling back fuel economy standards, and to net neutrality, the Trump administration has repeatedly ignored the needs of everyday American families."
In spite of overwhelming GOP opposition, Markey's resolution (pdf) has the support of the entire 49-member Senate Democratic caucus, plus a pledge from Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) to vote in favor. If Collins keeps her promise to help pass the resolution—and considering that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is expected to remain absent while he battles brain cancer—the Democrats currently have the edge over the 49 Republicans who support the FCC's effort to hand the web over to powerful corporate telecom interests.
With so much on the line and leaving nothing to chance, advocates for federal net neutrality protections, which prevent internet service providers (ISPs) from prioritizing certain online content, are maintaining the urgent tone of their #RedAlert digital campaign and asking constituents nationwide to keep the pressure on their elected officials.
— Free Press (@freepress) May 14, 2018
Advocates are encouraging constituents to continue contacting their senators—particularly those seen as likely candidates to rethink their opposition, such as Republican Sens. John Kennedy (La.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska).
The Senate votes on #NetNeutrality THIS Wednesday. 50 senators have already publicly supported the CRA resolution to block the FCC's repeal—but we're still one short from guaranteeing a win. Retweet to spread the word. Louisiana & Alaska residents—CALL YOUR REPS: 513-854-0120 pic.twitter.com/Levih975zJ
— Fight for the Future (@fightfortheftr) May 13, 2018
That urgency was echoed by Markey, who tweeted to constituents on Monday, "We need you to take action TODAY."
"Will we stand with the American public, who understand why net neutrality is vital, or will we side with those who wish to control how we use the internet?" posed Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.). "The choice should be clear—the American public should always come first."
Although the majority of Americans across the political spectrum support net neutrality protections, major ISPs such as AT&T and Verizon have threatened to "aggressively challenge" efforts to impose such regulations at state and local levels, and have lobbied federal Republican regulators and lawmakers to keep open internet rules off the books.
— Fight for the Future (@fightfortheftr) May 14, 2018
Even if the the CRA resolution does pass the Senate, however, the fight will not be over. It will also have to pass the House, where it will need support from over two dozen Republicans.
As Common Dreams has reported, "lawmakers only have 60 legislative days from when FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's repeal plan was published in the Federal Register to void the rollback, meaning they face a June 12 deadline."