Wired/ Klint Finley/ May 16, 2018
The Senate WednesdayÂ voted to preserve net neutrality, with three Republicans joining all of the chamberâ€™s Democrats and independents to block a Federal Communications Commission plan to undo Obama-era rules governing the internet. The vote is a major victory for net neutrality activists, but the plan still has a long way to go before it could take effect.
Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), John Kennedy (R-Louisiana), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) crossed the aisle to defend net neutrality in what was otherwise a party-line vote. The final tally was 52â€“47. Collins had announced her support for the proposal in January, but Murkowski and Kennedy didnâ€™t announce their positions in advance of the vote.
Kennedy told the Washington Post that his decision was difficult. But it ultimately came down to a question of who to trust. â€śIf you trust your cable company, youâ€™re not going to like my vote today,â€ť he told the paper â€śIf you donâ€™t trust your cable company, you will.â€ť
In a statement, Murkowski emphasized that she still disagreed with some aspects of the Obama FCC’s rules. But she emphasized the need to protect internet users and end the battle over how best to do that. â€śI have voted to pass this resolution today so that we can reset the discussion and move beyond the politics at play here to what is really neededâ€”lasting legislation that will provide certainty and move us beyond shifting regulatory standards that depend on who is running the FCC,â€ť she said.
In 2015, the Obama-era FCC passed sweeping regulations that banned broadband providers such as Comcast and Verizon from blocking, throttling, or otherwise discriminating against lawful internet content. Last December, the now Republican dominated FCC voted to toss out those rules. The measure approved Wednesday, sponsored by senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts), would block the FCC’s December order, which is scheduled to take effect June 11, and leave the Obama-era rules on the books. But it also requires approval by the House and the signature of President Trump.
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