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Democrats' Latest Plan to Save Net Neutrality Is All Bark, No Bite

There is roughly a zero percent chance Democrats will succeed in blocking net neutrality repeal through the Congressional Review Act.

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/NewscomTom Williams/CQ Roll Call/NewscomSenate Democrats think they've found a way to preserve Barack Obama's net neutrality rules. Like their plans to reimpose the rules at the state level, the new gambit has a roughly zero percent chance of succeeding.

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has introduced a resolution to stop the rollback of net neutrality regulations via the Congressional Review Act (CRA), a 1996 law that gave Congress a way to block rules crafted by executive agencies. Little-used for many years, the CRA has recently become a popular way for Republicans to undo regulations they dislike; Markey's bill suggests that the Democrats are watching and learning.

But that doesn't mean their effort will work.

Once a new regulation has been entered in the Federal Register, the CRA gives the Senate 60 days to submit a resolution stopping the rule under an expedited process. In order initiate this process, a CRA requires 30 co-sponsors. Democrats have indeed reached this 30 co-sponsor mark: A full 43 senators have signed on. But that is pretty much all they have.

For starters, the net neutrality rollback announced by the FCC last month has yet even to be entered into the Federal Register, so Democrats currently have no actual rule to review. Getting 30 co-sponsors is for the moment meaningless.

But that will soon change. The more important problem: To pass this resolution Democrats will have to get majority votes in both houses of Congress, each of which is currently Republican-controlled.

Passage in the Senate is conceivable, given that two Republican senators, Susan Collins and John Thune, have said they'd be open to a legislative restoration of net neutrality rules. Collins has even said she would support Markey's bill. But Republicans command a larger majority in the House—and the expedited process allowed in the Senate doesn't apply there. And even if by some miracle enough House Republicans cross party lines to pass the bill, it will still have to be signed by President Donald Trump. That isn't exactly likely.

Given those obstacles, this plan looks less like a serious policy proposal and more like a show for the voters. And that's for the best: The rollback of these rules returns us to the light-touch approach that allowed the internet to grow and thrive. That isn't something to block; it's something to celebrate.

Photo Credit: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Newscom

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  • Hugh Akston||

    Brit, how do you expect people to take you seriously if you don't use "Byte" in your headline for this article?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Britches knew that low-hanging pun would be a crowd pleaser, and pleasing this crowd is antithetical to every fiber of his being.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Even his articles are getting shorter, just like his britches.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Another shocking insight into your sexual fantasies.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    He only took this job because his dad made him start paying rent.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    He is a savage.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    Christian is Reason's Wayne Jarvis.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Britches actually has a lifetime ban from Cirque du Soleil after his total lack of enjoyment caused at least one trapeze mime to attempt suicide.

  • Longtobefree||

    Well, you have to admit that the internet got much better the last two years than all the time before the last two years.
    So clearly regulation and federal interference is a good and needful thing.
    Oh, wait. That's completely false.

  • ||

    Oh, wait. That's completely false.

    What I think you meant to say was that AT&T and Comcast's growth slowed and market dominance reversed more during the two years that NN was in effect than in any previous period when we tried to regulate their ability to provide content to consumers. Oh, wait. That's completely false too.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Do people even remember what net neutrality even is? Isn't there a new shiny object in our field of vision?

  • A Cynic's Guide to Zen||

    There's gotta be something egregious that The Cheeto is having for supper.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    $5 footlongs from Subway. Tuna on white bread, erry night.

  • A Cynic's Guide to Zen||

    "I eat at Subway because it is the only food that tickles all my sphincters."

  • Citizen X - #6||

    "I found this very good little burrito place. It's called Chipotle, have you heard of it? Great food, the best, believe me. And the portions are YUGE."

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    "And it's authentic, let me tell ya. They even had mice falling from the ceiling."

  • A Cynic's Guide to Zen||

    I love Mexican mice!

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Filet o fish and fries in bed.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    How many Filet o fishes did you eat?

  • Jerryskids||

    Net Neutrality is a fine and glorious fantasy that we need government to protect us from the nefarious machinations of the corporate kleptocrats who control the government.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    The repeal of net neutrality is the biggest assault against our democracy soon citizens United!

  • Leader Desslok||

    The repeal of net neutrality is the biggest assault against our democracy soon citizens United!

    Ahh yes, I see you do live up to your handle.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    I'm pretty sure that's a joke handle that someone uses to make sarcastic comments meant to parody progressive talking points. Might want to get your sarcasm detector fixed.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Soon that was a joke comment to a joke comment, you'll since be needing to adjust your own joke-o-meter.

  • MarkLastname||

    Joke's on you: Leader Desslok is a joke handle that someone uses to parody people who make serious replies to sarcastic comments. You may say, there's no joke in the handle. But that is the joke, because such people utterly lack a sense of humor. So. Meta.

  • Rhywun||

    And that's for the best: The rollback of these rules returns us to the light-touch approach that allowed the internet to grow and thrive.

    Unfortunately, now that the Dems are all over this issue, all it will take is a turnover in Congress or Executive and then it's "if you like your internet you can keep your internet" and good luck undoing whatever mess they shove down our throats then.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    ^This^

  • MarkLastname||

    If we're optimistic we might hope this will distract the idiots from trying to implement socialized medicine.

    You have to give them a ball to chase to keep 'em occupied. Maybe someone should make regulating dog costumes so they don't misgender or misspecie canine identities a big issue and we can keep them focused on that for four years.

  • Brandybuck||

    Treating Internet providers like we treat electical or telephone utilities? Sure! Because electrical and telephone utilities are allowed to charge for usage!!! It's the one thing Net Neutrality proponents insist must not be allowed.

    They only want it to be treated like a utility so that the Federal government can get involved. They imagine that their guy will be running the FCC and will do what they tell him. Idiots.

  • Rat on a train||

    You don't get your gas, electricity and water at a flat, inexpensive rate? If you did, not only could you stream 4K 24/7, you could crank the thermostat, take extra long showers, mine cryptocurrencies, and many other thongs.

  • Rhywun||

    Nobody needs more than 23 different thongs.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Wait a minute. Mining thongs? Is that what all these work-from-home spambots are advertising? I may have to check out one of those links.

  • Mickey Rat||

    What is a "demand charge". Commercisl and industrial energy customers of get varable rates based on time of day and max demand. Rates are not flat outside of residential customers.

  • Unlabelable MJGreen||

    FFS, you're Congress! If you can get enough votes to get the FCC to rollback to Title II so as to save net neutrality, then just fucking make a bill enacting net neutrality! Goddammit! Such disingenuous morons.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Which is worse: lazy, disingenuous tyranny, or hardworking, forthright tyranny?

    The first one seems to me to be less likely to achieve its goals, but it's also kind of insulting.

  • JuanQPublic||

    Agreed. Their showboating is wearing thin. As usual, they're milking the window of political expediency.

  • Mickey Rat||

    That type of institutional responsibilty frightens them.

  • Detroit Linguist||

    Sorry to be a 'grammar nazi', but the increasing number of just plain grammatical errors (real ones, not 'split-infinitive' kinds) is getting to be an embarrassment on this site. Do they no longer edit anything?

    ...In order initiate this process...

  • Rat on a train||

    I've increasingly seen the dropped 'to' in British. It was bound to jump the pond.

  • Rhywun||

    I imagine they edit magazine articles, but not blog posts. You know, like every other outfit.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    You know the media is full of shit when they act like a Democrat minority of votes and no GOP support votes to get them into a majority will result in some lefty bill being passed.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    no GOP support votes

    vs

    Passage in the Senate is conceivable, given that two Republican senators, Susan Collins and John Thune, have said they'd be open to a legislative restoration of net neutrality rules. Collins has even said she would support Markey's bill.
  • MarkLastname||

    Why does Collins even pretend not to be a Democrat anymore?

  • JuanQPublic||

    The Democrats' "actions" on a host of issues amounts to little more than grandstanding and emotional showboating. They respond to highly charged issues (see gun control) within the window of public focus, then tuck it away when political expediency fades. It's now a shell of a political party on autopilot.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    KEEP INTERNET LIKE IT WAS IN THE 90S: FULL OF BLINK TEXT.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Paul lost his j/o virginity to a Tripod page about Pamela Anderson with 800x600 SVGA resolution.

  • Rhywun||

    ASCII art or GTFO

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Ok.

    B==o - - - O-:

    (NSFW)

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    800 x 600, I cut my 'batin teeth on 320x200, 16 colors.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Young Paul knew that Mrs. Pac Man had it goin' on.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    Reality refuses to comply with the pipe-dreams of The Left.

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