Three GOP Senators Defy McConnell, Join 49 Democrats To Force Vote On Net Neutrality Bill
In a major defeat for Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, a bill that would protect the FCC’s net neutrality rules from being repealed passed a key procedural hurdle by a 52-47 vote after three Republicans joined the 49 Democrats, clearing the way for a final vote Wednesday afternoon, several news outlets reported.
As noted by The Hill, Democrats are forcing the vote using a legislative tool called the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which allows Congress, with the president’s signature, to overturn recent decisions from federal agencies.
The Republican-controlled FCC voted in December to repeal the rules, which require internet service providers to give equal footing to all web traffic. Democrats argue that scrapping the rules will give ISPs free reign to suppress certain content or promote sites that pay them.
“Soon, the American people will know which side their member of Congress is on: fighting for big corporations and ISPs or defending small business owners, entrepreneurs, middle-class families, and everyday consumers,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement last week when announcing that Democrats would be forcing the vote.
With the support of Sen. Susan Collins (Maine). And with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) home fighting brain cancer, it appears that Democrats have the numbers to get the bill through the Senate.
Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and John Kennedy (R-La.) also voted in favor to begin debate on the bill, a sign that Democrats may have secured their support for the actual legislation. The Louisiana Republican had been evasive about which way he’ll vote, telling reporters as recently as Tuesday that he was undecided.
r. House Democrats will need 25 Republicans to join them in backing the bill in order to force a vote in the lower chamber.