May 16, 2018, 5:31 PM ET

The Senate voted to restore net neutrality: Here's what that means


The Senate approved a measure Wednesday 52-47 that would overturn the Federal Communication Commission's decision to roll back Obama-era so-called net neutrality rules.

But that would happen only if it passes the House and is signed by President Trump, which appears unlikely.

The repeal effort led by Senate Democrats faces a significant hurdle in the House and an even greater one in the White House, but Democrats hope to rally support from young voters as they head to the ballot box in the 2018 midterm elections.

Many Senate Republicans, including Sen. John Thune, R.-S.D., cried foul on Wednesday, accusing Democrats of pushing the reversal through a rarely-used tactic without coming to the table to negotiate on new legislation.

Thune, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation said he supports a ban on blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization of internet traffic, but reverting to the antiquated laws as Democrats want "only delays concrete protections for a free and open internet."

Democrats say they are up against the clock. They and their colleagues in the House of Representatives have until June 12 to pass the repeal of the FCC's December decision to roll back landmark Obama-era rules that prevent internet service providers from slowing down or blocking access to certain parts of the internet.

Even if that plan works, President Trump would have to sign it, which is unlikely given his public support for the FCC decision.

The absence of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., away from Washington fighting brain cancer, gave Democrats the opportunity to secure just one Republican vote to gain a simple majority and send the measure to the House. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, was that ticket for Democrats as she and two other GOP senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and John Kennedy of Louisiana, joined 49 Democratic senators across the aisle.

Despite the unlikelihood of this actually re-enacting net neutrality rules, Democrats will hail it as a victory.

“Pretty much every millennial supports it,” Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., the lead sponsor told reporters last week during a news conference.

YouTube ads from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee have already appeared on the issue, as voters head to the polls for midterm primaries and look ahead.

The December FCC 3-2 vote, along party lines, was a victory for those for internet service providers like Verizon and Comcast who said the Obama rules were heavy-handed, burdensome and hold back innovation.

Sen. Thune maintains that, under Obama Administration rules, internet service providers were spending less money on innovation and more money on lawyers and politics.

News - The Senate voted to restore net neutrality: Here's what that means

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  • Rubber Banned

    Go figure, Trump is on the wrong side of this. Now giant telecoms can extort content providers AND end consumers alike.

  • Dave

    I'm amazed that there are people would side with Comcast on any matter.

  • Southern CT

    Admittedly I am trying to get up to speed on this, but how is the internet different than a highway with tolls? 18 Wheelers should and do pay more than a passenger cars. Those that use more bandwidth and resources should pay more than those that don't use as much.

  • BD70

    What the FCC did is clearly a grab to take over the internet. Greed explains it perfectly.

  • spamtrap

    Why don't they call it what it *really* is. Net Neutrality is really just Government Control of the Internet. Nothing grande and fair, just government stepping in where it can to control public communications.

  • John Smith

    Republicans once again show that they only care about extorting lobby money out of corporations. Giving the shaft to the poor and middle class is just a side affect.

  • kaymichigan1

    Trump's not going to sign the bill even if it passes the House, so what's the point?

  • djl

    “Pretty much every millennial supports it,”
    Facebook told them to.

  • mellack

    Net neutrality has over 80% popular support. Who does the government work for again?

  • Curmudgathrope

    Please all, pick, prioritize, listen and vote. What are our button issues? What will the politicians push as being what we the people want? Here are a couple hot buttons for all of us: Guns & Laws, Net Neutrality, Planned Parenthood, Abortion. Which of these will affect each of us every single day, in a very real way? Which will make us happier, or sadder, or even crazier? Let's all vote according to our needs, and lets evaluate our needs by getting involved and listening to the truths and lies we are being told. Listen, evaluate, Vote!.

  • Dale Stein

    Let the Republicans and Trump oppose their own detriment.

  • Educated

    ....Way to fight for the American people, Dems. Hopefully we can do more to help you and ourselves in November.

  • jskdn

    “Thune said he supports a ban on blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization of internet traffic, but [not] reverting to the antiquated laws as Democrats want.”

    Thune knows the courts forced Title II designation requirements for net neutrality regulations. If he wanted a form of net neutrality without Title II, he would have acted to implement it into law to override previous court decisions governing the issue. I'll just have to assume that his claims about what he wanted ought to be subject to question.

  • NuuJuce

    Anything that screws the American people but makes the wallets of his fat cat CEO friends and corporate overlords fatter, Trump is for.