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'There Will Be a [Senate] Vote' To Reinstate Net Neutrality, Schumer Says (arstechnica.com) 278

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he will force a vote on a bill that would reinstate the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules. Legislation to reverse the repeal "doesn't need the support of the majority leader," Schumer said during a press conference Friday, according to The Hill. "We can bring it to the floor and force a vote. So, there will be a vote to repeal the rule that the FCC passed." The Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal its own net neutrality rules last week, and the repeal will take effect 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. But Congress can overturn agency actions by invoking the Congressional Review Act (CRA), as it did earlier this year in order to eliminate consumer broadband privacy protections. A successful CRA vote in this case would invalidate the FCC's net neutrality repeal and prevent the FCC from issuing a similar repeal in the future. This would force the FCC to maintain the rules and the related classification of ISPs as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act. A CRA vote lets Congress "undo regulations with a simple majority," without the possibility of a filibuster, as a Washington Post story said in February. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) announced a plan to file the CRA resolution last week. "It's in our power to do that and that's the beauty of the CRA rule," Schumer said. "Sometimes we don't like them, when they used it to repeal some of the pro-environmental regulations, but now we can use the CRA to our benefit, and we intend to."
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'There Will Be a [Senate] Vote' To Reinstate Net Neutrality, Schumer Says

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  • by Rick Schumann ( 4662797 ) on Monday December 18, 2017 @04:51PM (#55764043) Journal
    Now we find out exactly how unified the GOP is. Spoiler: They're not unified at all. If it's a simple majority I think Ajit Pai is going to have his ass handed to him by Congress, and rightly so.
    • by DaMattster ( 977781 ) on Monday December 18, 2017 @04:59PM (#55764113)

      Now we find out exactly how unified the GOP is. Spoiler: They're not unified at all. If it's a simple majority I think Ajit Pai is going to have his ass handed to him by Congress, and rightly so.

      Maybe Ajit Pai will be the next high profile departure? Wouldn't that be nice?

      • The political needle is slammed all the way over to the right at the moment, if it can't manage to start swinging back towards the left, then there's something more serious going on than what we've been seeing since inauguration day.
    • by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Monday December 18, 2017 @05:01PM (#55764125)

      Shame that a Senate vote to fix this isn't sufficient. Make it a law (which requires both House and Senate to vote on the same piece of legislation), and it'll really mean something. 51 Senators can vote on anything they want to, but without legislation in the House as well, it's just grandstanding....

      • by Green Mountain Bot ( 4981769 ) on Monday December 18, 2017 @05:25PM (#55764339)
        You could call it grandstanding. I prefer to call it "getting everyone to declare their position". If the House takes this up and passes it, great. If they don't, then it's clear that the House, and the speaker in particular are on the wrong side of the issue and need to be replaced. If it doesn't pass the Senate, and it's on party lines, then it's clear that the talk about "doing it the proper way" is just another in a long line of self-serving rules the GOP insists Democrats observe while doing nothing of the sort themselves.
        • by shess ( 31691 )

          You could call it grandstanding. I prefer to call it "getting everyone to declare their position". If the House takes this up and passes it, great. If they don't, then it's clear that the House, and the speaker in particular are on the wrong side of the issue and need to be replaced. If it doesn't pass the Senate, and it's on party lines, then it's clear that the talk about "doing it the proper way" is just another in a long line of self-serving rules the GOP insists Democrats observe while doing nothing of the sort themselves.

          So it's like choice.org, but for politicians?

        • Maybe call it "getting everyone off the fence and committing"
        • If it doesn't pass the Senate, and it's on party lines, then it's clear that the talk about "doing it the proper way"

          "Doing it the proper way" is not having the senate punt the issue back to the FCC to keep doing it the wrong way. It's for the legislature to pass actual laws. So no, sorry, if the senate doesn't just pass the football back where it doesn't belong, it doesn't prove that "do it the proper way" was just smoke. In fact, it's a pretty good sign that those who vote against doing it this way don't think this is the right way.

          If the House takes this up and passes it, great.

          Yes. And the Senate. Make it an actual law that changes the existing law about the FCC

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by kenh ( 9056 )

        51 Senators can vote on anything they want to, but without legislation in the House as well, it's just grandstanding....

        Just a reminder, Schumer only has 48 Senators that caucus with him, he is the Minority Leader.

    • by SlaveToTheGrind ( 546262 ) on Monday December 18, 2017 @05:08PM (#55764181)

      If it's a simple majority I think Ajit Pai is going to have his ass handed to him by Congress, and rightly so.

      Even if the Senate Dems were to vote in lockstep, which is less than clear, this would have to pass in the House as well, then survive a presidential veto. That's not going to happen, and TFA says as much. This is nothing but political posturing on Schumer's part.

      • by jmccue ( 834797 ) on Monday December 18, 2017 @05:17PM (#55764255) Homepage

        This is nothing but political posturing on Schumer's part.

        Why is that bad, then we will know who not to vote for next year.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by tsqr ( 808554 )

          This is nothing but political posturing on Schumer's part.

          Why is that bad, then we will know who not to vote for next year.

          Fabulous. You can vote for the Senators in your state who supported this meaningless gesture. This is a really common tactic - vote to show your support for something you really don't support at all in order to gain constituent support, confident that if the measure passes nothing will change.

      • by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Monday December 18, 2017 @05:46PM (#55764517) Homepage Journal

        If it's a simple majority I think Ajit Pai is going to have his ass handed to him by Congress, and rightly so.

        Even if the Senate Dems were to vote in lockstep, which is less than clear, this would have to pass in the House as well, then survive a presidential veto. That's not going to happen, and TFA says as much. This is nothing but political posturing on Schumer's part.

        It might very well pass, both House and president.

        The main problem with the existing legislation was legal, not technical. It was passed in opposition to Congress' explicit instructions.

        NN is a good idea, when viewed on its technical merits, and if a law gets passed that's a good thing.

        Ajit Pai won't be getting "his ass handed to him", he'll be getting explicit direction from congress which is the correct way to do this.

        • Agree completely legislation is the better path if NN is going to happen. Respectfully disagree it's correct on the technical merits. But in any event, why are you bullish that it passes both houses? I'm not seeing the collective appetite for that but may be missing something.

      • Even if the Senate Dems were to vote in lockstep, which is less than clear, this would have to pass in the House as well, then survive a presidential veto.

        That veto might not be such a sure thing if there is enough bipartisan support. A law passed by congress is easier to for him to support than a regulatory requirement that can be changed a the whim of the next administration, which was the worst part of the previous net neutrality approach.

      • Yes, but: if Congress as a whole says "we want NN to continue to exist" and Trump vetoes it, that's just one more nail in the coffin, one more clear indicator to America that Trump doesn't give a rats ass about the average citizen.
    • by davide marney ( 231845 ) <davide@marney.netmedia@org> on Monday December 18, 2017 @05:18PM (#55764257) Journal

      Short answer: No. Why? Because a CRA is a Joint Resolution (that means it has to pass both the House and the Senate), and the President has to sign it into law.

      Source: https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R... [fas.org]

      • they just need to convince trump that if he does not cooperate with shumer that the rest of the democrats & congress & the senate will spend the rest of trump's term making him the lamest duck possible
    • Now we find out exactly how unified the GOP is. Spoiler: They're not unified at all. If it's a simple majority I think Ajit Pai is going to have his ass handed to him by Congress, and rightly so.

      a premature celebratory comment here, about this grandstanding gesture which achieves nothing, and far from guaranteed to succeed at even that meaningless vote (not only gop, dems are also divided btw), about pai getting his "ass handed" back is now rated "insightful" .
      oh \. !

      with such meaningless opposition, and idiotic support for it, trump is going to be succeed.

    • the other thing no one is asking is why wasnt this enacted by congress to begin with? rather than deal with the past 2 years, why didnt congress do its job before???
      • the other thing no one is asking is why wasnt this enacted by congress to begin with? rather than deal with the past 2 years, why didnt congress do its job before???

        Because it was the FCC's job, which the FCC just chose to stop doing.

        • congress should be the ones making these decisions, not an unelected bureaucrat
          • by Rakarra ( 112805 )

            congress should be the ones making these decisions, not an unelected bureaucrat

            Congress explicitly gave the FCC these regulatory powers. They are legally capable of delegating.

        • by Obfuscant ( 592200 ) on Monday December 18, 2017 @07:19PM (#55765231)

          Because it was the FCC's job, which the FCC just chose to stop doing.

          Except for the fact that congress told the FCC not to do it, you're right. From this [wired.com]: "Back in the 1990s, key Democratic senators insisted Congress never intended Title II for broadband." So the people who wrote the laws said that Title II wasn't supposed to be applied to broadband.

          That's why having the FCC decide to do it that way is the wrong way to do it. Congress needs to pass an explicit law. Not just a law telling the FCC to go back to the way they weren't supposed to be doing it, a law that does it the right way. Schumer is wasting everyone's time playing political football instead of trying to actually solve a problem.

          • So both parties, the FCC and congress have changed their mind on who's job it is. Where it stood a month ago was that the FCC had decided it was their job and were doing it, presumably because congress had not done it, presumably because it would compromise considerable funding streams from large telecom companies to senators and congressmen or their anonymous proxies.

            A coordinated government would coordinate the passing of responsibility from one place to the other.

            Enforcing net neutrality is actually an i

            • So both parties, the FCC and congress have changed their mind on who's job it is.

              So pass a law making it so.

              Where it stood a month ago was that the FCC had decided it was their job and were doing it,

              No, where it stood a month ago was that Obama had told them to do it and they hadn't gotten around to reversing it yet.

              presumably because congress had not done it, presumably because it would compromise considerable funding streams

              Whenever Congress doesn't do something you want, it's always because they're corrupt and horrible. It's never because they don't think it is the right thing to do.

              Enforcing net neutrality is actually an important function of government.

              That's an interesting opinion, one which not everyone shares. Some people think keeping government out of the Internet is a good idea.

              I travel a lot and the internet does indeed suck in places that don't have enforced net neutrality laws

              I also travel, and I've seen no such massive problems.

            • by kenh ( 9056 )

              So both parties, the FCC and congress have changed their mind on who's job it is.

              The Constitution says it's Congress's responsibility.

              Congress says it's Congress's responsibility - Congress never deferred to the FCC on this.

              Where it stood a month ago was that the FCC had decided it was their job and were doing it, presumably because congress had not done it.

              The FCC doesn't get to just decide to "step-in and do something" because the responsible party failed to act.

              President Obama tried that line of reasoning with DACA, and we can all admire how well that reasoning worked out for the Dreamers...

    • I don't really understand why this is such a partisan issue. The net neutrality rules were exploited by large corporations (especially Netflix, Google and Amazon) so the FCC made the sensible decision to wipe the slate and start over to restore a competitive atmosphere in the net. Aren't Democrats usually trying to say want to protect the little guy, it seems like they would be in support of a decision that goes against big corporations? I guess maybe because the rules were enacted under Obama and he is
      • by jmccue ( 834797 ) on Monday December 18, 2017 @06:18PM (#55764797) Homepage

        I guess it is time to spend some karma.

        The net neutrality rules were exploited by large corporations (especially Netflix, Google and Amazon)

        Really, I pay to get access to the net, now people need to pay my ISP to allow me to see their content ? Never mind these large ISPs got large tax breaks to run the cables.

        Comcast and other ISPs had a 20+ year lead on the net and now they are crying because some brand new companies came alone and are now eating their lunch! So much for the "free market working" phrase so many people yell about. Believe it or not, that is how the market is suppose to work. You do not innovate, you fail.

    • Now we find out exactly how unified the GOP is. Spoiler: They're not unified at all. If it's a simple majority I think Ajit Pai is going to have his ass handed to him by Congress, and rightly so.

      I person can dream I guess. What you going to do? Impeach the guy? Good luck, you are going to need it.

    • Now we find out exactly how unified the GOP is. Spoiler: They're not unified at all. If it's a simple majority I think Ajit Pai is going to have his ass handed to him by Congress, and rightly so.

      You assume the Democrats are unified. Not so long ago most democrats were also either actively ignoring net neutrality or against it.

    • by kenh ( 9056 )

      Let's revisit this after tomorrow's votes on the Tax Cut bills...

      Seems pretty unified right now, tomorrow will tell us how unified they are.

  • Unless they have a couple of Republicans who are willing to go against Trump and the FCC this ain't gonna happen.
    • Unless they have a couple of Republicans who are willing to go against Trump and the FCC this ain't gonna happen.

      Trump's approval rating is in the gutter and he's taking the GOP with it. There are some GOP congresspeople concerned for their jobs so I think you'll be surprised at the number of Republicans whom vote to override the FCC.

      • Trump's approval rating is in the gutter

        In general, yes. But not with his base. 75% of Republicans think he is doing a good job. His approval rating is even higher with the wingnuts likely to vote in the primaries.

        There are some GOP congresspeople concerned for their jobs

        Most of them fear a primary challenge more than a general election defeat.

      • I'd agree. Supporting this is an easy way to get points for the next elections. One of those times where politicians can buck the party line with very little risk involved. Except to see GOP congresspeople in places with a legitimate Democrat threat voting to roll back this asinine FCC decision. How many of them do that will determine whether Trump signs off.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 18, 2017 @05:07PM (#55764175)

      A big part of the FCC's action was based on a belief that unelected FCC commissioners should not be writing regulations that supercede state control and FTC protections.

      Laws passed by our elected representatives in Congress are a completely different story than FCC regulations. It is perfectly possible to support a law mandating net neutrality and also support Pai withdrawing the FCC-level mandate.

      Of course, using the CRA to reinstate net neutrality is just plain stupid, because it leaves the unelected FCC in control of the regulations. A CRA resolution would stop the FCC from changing the common-carrier classification, but it would leave the doors wide open to totally changing the meaning of "net neutrality". That is, you could have your net neutrality and find out it only applies to content under the creative control of the ISPs (like Fairness Doctrine) or even more egregious, has something to do with connections of neutral wires to lightning arrestors. To anyone who actually thinks the net neutrality repeal is about pleasing the big corporations rather than federal-state and FCC-FTC balancing, handing the reins back to the same three FCC punks sounds like the worst possible outcome.

      Personally, I think that Pai's "net neutrality repeal" which actually is a common carrier reclassification that takes the FCC out of the picture, together with state or municipal regulation, is the correct answer. But I'm far less upset by the possibility of Congress passing an actual law defining net neutrality compared to the "save net neutrality but only until the composition of the FCC board changes again" side that has been making such a big fuss.

      • Whatever form of Net Neutrality congress were to pass, it would fall on some regulatory agency to enforce it. Why not the FCC - what makes them the incorrect agency to deal with this? And if not the FCC, why would another agency - none of which are democratically elected - be a better option? Are you suggesting the creation of a new agency? And if none of the above, how exactly would it be enforced?
    • Unless they have a couple of Republicans who are willing to go against Trump and the FCC this ain't gonna happen.

      A few? A bunch! You will need 12 Republicans to agree to this, PLUS Trump (OR 18 if you don't get Trump).

      This will have to be a law... Meaning it will have to be a bill, passed by both the house and Senate and signed by the president. In the Senate, this will require a number of cloture votes which require 60 Senators and a veto override will take 66. No way you get that many Republican Senators to vote this way.

  • Fuck Ajit Pai (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nick ( 109 ) on Monday December 18, 2017 @04:58PM (#55764101) Journal
    Just need a simple majority. Doug Jones will be in the Senate, they can't likely wheel McCain's corpse in for a vote, and Collins (R) supports Net Neutrality. Couple this with only 16% of Americans and ignorant enough to believe repealing NN is somehow a good thing for them, the Senators that have a fight on their hands for re-election are going to do whatever they can to get re-elected, even if it means voting to kill off the FCC vote. BTW, fuck Ajit Pai.
    • The Republicans need a win and if any of them have their heads screwed on straight, they'll see Net Neutrality as the easy win that they so badly need.
      • How is that a win (Score:4, Interesting)

        by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Monday December 18, 2017 @05:30PM (#55764393)

        Step back and think about this on a purely tactical level.

        If the measure passes, the Democrats will be given credit even if every single Republican voted for it.

        If the measure loses, the situation for the Republicans is not any different than it was today since it's something almost no-one will every know about, and certainly very few voters will care about way off in November.

        Republicans voting for this can only lose, there is literally nothing to gain.

        Some may still do so though, so it may pass. Not sure what the repercussions are of passing something that denies the FCC has the ability to choose what to do, but if you actually think about things long term it seems like a super-bad precedent to set in terms of choices other agencies make being overridden in similar ways.

        • Not sure what the repercussions are of passing something that denies the FCC has the ability to choose what to do, but if you actually think about things long term it seems like a super-bad precedent to set in terms of choices other agencies make being overridden in similar ways.

          As far as a precedent goes, that ship has sailed. As Sen. Schumer said in TFA (and TFS), this process is established by law and either party can and does use it. When I think about how it works, it seems kind of cool -- the regulat

        • The problem is that between now and the 2018 elections, internet users, including those who now nominally support NN repeal, may see changes by bad actors at ISPs which will cause them to reevaluate their position.

          Yes, the various ISPs and telecoms have pledged not to engage in bad acts, but history suggests otherwise. If there's money to be made by changing revenue models in ways that incentivize users to spend more for certain types of access or access to certain websites, some ISP is going to do it - it'

        • They lose more if they vote against it. Every time some schmuck's connection makes him wait, the Democrats can say: "It's 'cause they voted for slow lanes."
    • Re:Fuck Ajit Pai (Score:4, Insightful)

      by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Monday December 18, 2017 @06:46PM (#55765015) Journal

      You *do* understand that this is simply how it's supposed to work, right?

      The executive offices issue rules on trivia not important enough to rise to the level of writing law.

      If an issue DOES rise to that level, then Congress gets involved, writes law, and supercedes the rules written by bureaucrats.

      *Exactly* how the whole thing is supposed to go down, according to the founders.

    • by Idou ( 572394 )
      Let Ajit Pai know how "thankful" you are in the comments section of his FCC Blog post [fcc.gov].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 18, 2017 @05:02PM (#55764133)

    The proper way to implement significant policy changes is to change the law.

    Because what's done via a pen and a phone are just are properly undone by a pen and a phone.

    • by e3m4n ( 947977 )

      Exactly... which is why Executive orders are not laws at all. Everyone pisses and moans when Trump reverses an executive order issued by Obama as if he is changing the laws and usurping congress. He has the prerogative to do whatever the hell he wants with existing Executive Orders, as they are nothing more than instructions to his subordinates on how to perform tasks. The only thing _permanent_ are Amendments and a new amendment has to be passed to repeal the former (as in the 18th and 21st amendments). La

  • Nothing but political theater to dot the I's and cross the T's for democrats to say this tried to do something.
  • Is a 1 page constitutional amendment, with no riders or dependencies.

    Otherwise it's just pointless, and will be subject to continual lobbying and see-sawing debates forever.

    • Like constitutional amendments don't get debated or changed.... Or is the 18th amendment is still in force? If it is, I need to report myself to Elliot Ness..

  • There's no way this will pass the senate and house and survive a presidential veto, and he'll certainly veto it if it comes to his desk.
    • Which will show that the "it just needs to come from Congress, not the FCC" argument comes from a desire for political cover and not from a respect for proper procedure.
    • It would take 12 Republican Senators to get it to the president's desk and 18 to override the veto.
  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Monday December 18, 2017 @05:11PM (#55764203)

    So, there will be a vote to repeal the rule that the FCC passed." The Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal its own net neutrality rules last week

    So this is a vote to repeal the FCC repealing an original action - three levels removed!

    When will this insanity end? Why not put together a REAL bill that would lay out what Net Neutrality really meant? They are using this weasel technique to try and avoid actually having to state what Network Neutrality is, because the original FCC order was to the benefit of companies, not consumers.

    I have all along said that I don't dislike the concept of Net Neutrality, but what the FCC actually had was the opposite of that because it bound ISP's in many ways that had nothing to do with equal network access, and also provided a foothold for government dictating how the internet worked.

    I would love to support a simple bill that clearly laid out REAL network neutrality - but you can bet you'll never see such a thing from ANY party in DC.

  • Did anyone really believe our government didn't contain checks and balances? That's why there are three branches.
  • Once the dust settles, network neutrality is re-established, and the US 'net is back on track, are there to be any consequences for the people who created this mess?

    • Yes. They will be taken to the stocks and placed on public display where citizens will be allowed to throw over-ripened fruit and moldy vegetables at them for a fortnight.

      Do you really think there are consequences for repealing a set of rules?

    • by DogDude ( 805747 )
      Yes. They'll get even more in bribes ("campaign donations") from AT&T/Time Warner.
  • Does anyone have any insights into ISPs and their access to utility poles after this FCC rule making? From what I can find online, only utilities and communications providers under FCC control can gain access to private land for the purpose of running wires, etc. If ISPs are not utilities and not under the control of the FCC, then can they still demand access to my land? Granted, most of them are also telecommunications or cable TV providers, but can I force them to declare if they are fixing someone tel

  • It could become true - will it?

    - the US political system seems to be financed by contributions to the candidates or incumbents to get elected or reelected or - the candidates or incumbents (let's call them "seats" from now on) are independently rich - multi-billionaires - to pull it through on their own.

    I financier of a "seat" has a certain interest in a "seat" to get his/her ideas promoted and implemented. A "seat" then is in a bind to go by that line of the financier, or s/he will need to look for other

  • Business is constrained by uncertaintly. So consider this: Even if this doesn't passm the ISPs will hesitate to violate neutrality. It is hard to push forward with a business model that is constantly threatening to be overturned. Imagine offering paid fast lanes today, only to have them made illegal in 3 months by congress, or in 2 years after midterm elections, or in 3 years with a new presidency. It's just a big risk for them to do. They would be better to play it safe and look like good guys.

    Healthc

  • Americans are weird (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I find it weird Americans are more divided over whether or not to support having health care than they are over whether they're okay with slow Internet connections. They'd rather be dead than have porn that buffers.

  • This bill will be referred to committee and never emerge to see the light of day. I'm guessing it will never come up for discussion by committee either. Shame on you Senator, you know this already, but you don't care.

    Ah yes, grandstanding for political appearances.. Go Chucky!

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