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What's Next for Net Neutrality in Congress?

by Countable | 5.16.18

On Wednesday, the Senate passed a resolution to reinstate Obama era net neutrality rules that are in the process of being rolled back by the Trump administration’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The bill, which uses the obscure Congressional Review Act to overturn recently finalized rules now goes to the House, where it faces an uncertain fate.

It’s highly unlikely that House Republican leaders will schedule a vote on the Senate-passed net neutrality resolution, as the House’s passage of the bill would in all likelihood lead to a presidential veto which Congress would lack the votes to override.

GOP leaders might consider holding a vote is if a bipartisan agreement is reached on a legislative net neutrality fix, such as the Open Internet Preservation Act offered by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). Her bill would ban the blocking and throttling of content while allowing paid prioritization. But so far, such an agreement has proven to be elusive as Democrats oppose the bill’s prioritization provisions.

House lawmakers who support the reinstatement of the Obama era net neutrality rules will try to force a vote by using a discharge petition, which lets rank-and-file members force a vote on a bill if 218 members sign the petition. Given that Democrats currently hold 193 seats in the House, that means 25 Republicans would need to support the discharge petition effort. (A similar effort related to a DACA fix is underway in the House.)

If the House’s net neutrality advocates are able to muster enough support to file a successful discharge petition, the question becomes when a vote would be held. Under House rules, successful discharge petitions are placed on the Discharge Calendar and given privileged consideration on the floor during the second and fourth Mondays of each month. There are only three such dates between now and the time the House departs for its summer recess: June 11, June 25, and July 23.

Hit Take Action to tell your reps whether they should support or oppose efforts to reinstate net neutrality rules and share your thoughts below!

— Eric Revell

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(Photo Credit: xxcheng / iStock)

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