Net neutrality bill clears procedural hurdle in Senate

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Democrats in the U-S Senate are forcing a vote this week to undo the Trump Administration's repeal of Obama-era net neutrality rules, less than a month before that repeal is to go into effect.

The senator, who has offered a formal resolution to restore net neutrality rules under the Congressional Review Act - which allows lawmakers to reverse federal agencies' regulatory actions - said Democrats have successfully placed the measure on the chamber's legislative calendar, setting the stage for a Senate vote on Wednesday. While powerful telecom companies would be the sole beneficiaries of the FCC's rule change, surveys have consistently showed widespread and bipartisan backing for the net neutrality protections, with a recent poll showing 83 percent of Americans in support.

With less than 24 hours until the vote, the fate of net neutrality is in the hands of the Senate. The House, with a large GOP majority, is unlikely to bring the measure up for a vote.

"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.

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"The internet should be kept free and open like our highways, accessible and affordable to every American, regardless of ability to pay" said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer. He believes the issue will energize Democratic voters in the midterm elections and help the party capture seats now held by Republicans.

"There is nowhere to hide, and there are no excuses".

"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?" Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Ranking Democrat on the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is the only Republican who has pledged to support net neutrality. The latest version of the agency's rules, from 2015, barred internet service providers from blocking, slowing, or giving preferential treatment to particular online sites or services. The FCC can not finalize its new rule until it submits it to the Office of Management and Budget for formal approval.

The FCC did not roll back rules that require internet providers to disclose their traffic management practices, with complaints largely handled through the Federal Trade Commission. That process may be complicated by Washington and several other states, which have drawn up their own net neutrality laws.