The FCC’s recent repeal of net neutrality rules is going to get a second look, thanks to Senate Democrats. The Congressional Review Act, which allows lawmakers to review new federal rules before they go into action, provides for Congress to vote on new rules decided by federal agencies. The mechanism requires a bill to get 30 co-sponsors, which forces a full vote on the Senate floor.
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) wrote a bill under the CRA that would erase the FCC’s net neutrality repeal, and thanks largely to Senate Democrats, it now has 30 co-sponsors, meaning it will go to a full Senate vote in the near future. If more than 50 senators vote for the bill, the FCC’s recent vote will be overturned, and the Obama-era net neutrality rules will remain in place.
“We’ve reached the magic number of 30 to secure a vote on the Senate floor, and that number will only continue to climb,” Markey said in a statement Monday. “Republicans are faced with a choice — be on the right side of history and stand with the American people who support a free and open internet, or hold hands with the special interests who want to control the internet for their own profit.”
Thanks to the 30 co-sponsors, the bill can now skip committee review and go straight to a floor vote. Under the terms of the CRA, the Senate has 60 days from when the FCC passed the rule to review it.
Of course, thanks to Republican control of the House and Senate (not to mention the White House), the chances of the bill passing two votes and being signed into law is still low. But if nothing else, it will force Republican lawmakers — many of whom have not been fans of the FCC’s new approach to net neutrality — to vote against popular net neutrality rules in an election year.