Several weeks ago, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 to end the Obama-era “net neutrality” regulations. Prior to the vote, internet service providers (ISPs) were forced to follow strict government rules that prevented them from doing things like charging more for “major bandwidth users,” such as Netflix.
Now, thanks to Ajit Pai, the Chairman of the FCC, the internet has been released from the tight clutches of government. On top of this, ISPs are also now largely free to offer their services in whatever way that they feel is best.
Unsurprisingly, the liberation of the internet has utterly outraged many on the left. Determined to reverse Pai’s decision, 30 Democrats in the Senate, which is the number needed to force a floor vote, came together and co-sponsored a newly introduced bill that, if passed, would invoke the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to essentially restore net neutrality.
According to reports, the 30th Senator to sign on to the bill and ultimately force a floor vote was Claire McCaskill (D-MO). “30 is the magic number of cosponsors needed to get a #NetNeutrality vote in the full Senate. Proud to be that 30th cosponsor of @SenMarkey bill to restore free and open internet,” wrote McCaskill in a tweet announcing her support for the bill.
30 is the magic number of cosponsors needed to get a #NetNeutrality vote in the full Senate.
Proud to be that 30th cosponsor of @SenMarkey bill to restore free and open internet.
— Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) January 8, 2018
Shortly after receiving McCaskill’s support, Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), the bill’s primary sponsor, released a statement celebrating the fact that the rest of the Senate will be forced to vote on the bill. Specifically, he said, “we’ve reached the magic number of 30 to secure a vote on the Senate floor, and that number will only continue to climb. Republicans are faced with a choice — be on the right side of history and stand with the American people who support a free and open internet, or hold hands with the special interests who want to control the internet for their own profit.”
Since the left doesn’t have a majority in the Senate, getting the bill passed will undoubtedly be a massive challenge. Some Democrats, however, aren’t too worried about the uphill battle. This is because, regardless of whether or not it passes, every lawmaker will be on the record with their support or opposition.
While speaking to reporters, Evan Greer, a liberal activist with the group Fight for the Future, broke down why this is significant. “Today’s news shows that lawmakers from both parties cannot hide from their constituents on this issue,” explained Greer. To clarify, he added, “every member of the U.S. Senate will have to go on the record, during a tight election year, and either vote to save the Internet or rubber stamp its death warrant.”
Greer’s opposition to repealing net neutrality, however, is utterly ridiculous. The decision does not necessarily mean that people won’t be able to access what they need to on the internet. It just means that ISPs will be able to have more control over how they run their own business.
This is something Chairman Pai has tried repeatedly to make abundantly clear. During a recent interview about his decision to end the Obama-era internet regulations, for instance, he stated, “all we are simply doing is putting engineers and entrepreneurs, instead of bureaucrats and lawyers, back in charge of the internet. What we wanted to do is return to the free market consensus that started in the Clinton administration and that served the internet economy in America very well for many years.”
The authoritarian left must not be allowed to reverse the FCC’s vote to liberate the internet. To ensure that they are not successful, conservatives across the country need to work together and actively push back against the current bill in the Senate as well as any other bills like it in the future.