Tuesday, June 18, 2019

House approves Save the Internet Act, votes to restore net neutrality

"The Save the Internet Act ensures that consumers have control over their Internet experience, rather than Internet service providers [controlling that experience]."

Image Credit: World Wide Web Foundation

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted, 232-190, to restore net neutrality rules that were overturned by the Federal Communications Commission in December 2017.

One Republican joined 231 Democrats to pass the Save the Internet Act and keep the internet open and free as Americans know it. Four Democrats and six Republicans decided not to cast a vote.

“The Save the Internet Act ensures that consumers have control over their Internet experience, rather than Internet service providers [controlling that experience],” Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) said. “This is just common sense. Each of us should be able to decide what videos we watch, which sites we read, and which services we use. Nobody should be able to influence that choice – not the government and not the large companies that run the networks.”

But the bill, which Donald Trump’s advisers said they would recommend the president veto if passed in the House and Senate, is said to be “dead on arrival” in the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced.

The Senate passed the Congressional Act (CRA) in May 2018 to restore net neutrality rules, which is “an obscure legislative tool” introduced by Sen. Ed Markey, (D-Mass.) unlike a conventional bill. Three Republicans “bucked the sysytem” and joined Democrats to pass the CRA and reverse the FCC’s gut of net neutrality rules, but the then Republican-held House failed to pass the CRA.

Now, the Senate bill to restore net neutrality rules “must go through the normal committee process, which is controlled by Republicans,” unlike last year’s CRA resolution, Ars Technica reported. So even getting the bill to the Senate floor for debate and vote is a long shot, many expect.

“What my friend refers to as a takeover of the Internet, we call protecting consumers, and that’s what we’re asking the FCC to do,” Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Penn.) said.

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