Democrats claimed on Monday that they have a 50-vote majority in the Senate, as well as Sen. Susan Collins’ (R-ME) support, to override the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) recent repeal of the agency’s 2015 net neutrality order.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) revealed, “With full caucus support. It’s clear that Democrats are committed to fighting to keep the Internet from becoming the Wild West where ISPs [Internet service providers] are free to offer premium service to only the wealthiest customers while average consumer are left with far inferior options.”
Democrats only need one additional vote to pass a resolution using the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to overturn the FCC’s recent repeal of the agency’s net neutrality order through the Senate. Sen. Collins recently signaled that she will side with Democrats to support a bill reinstating the Obama-era Internet regulation.
Annie Clark, Collins’ spokeswoman, told the Hill last week, “Senator Collins does not support the FCC’s recent decision to repeal net neutrality rules, and she will support Senator Markey’s legislation that would overturn the FCC’s vote.”
The FCC’s “Restoring Internet Freedom Order” passed in December and repealed the agency’s net neutrality order. The order reclassified the Internet as an “information service,” compared to the agency’s 2015 net neutrality order, which regulated the Internet as a public monopoly. Net neutrality proponents argued that the FCC needs net neutrality to prevent ISPs from unfairly blocking, throttling, or preferring some content, while conservatives argued that net neutrality would diminish the freedom of the Internet.
The FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order and Breitbart News’s Allum Bokhari argued that under net neutrality, content providers such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter have censored the Internet, stifled conservative and alternative voices, and served as a greater threat to free speech compared to ISPs.
Net neutrality proponents’ rage towards the regulation’s repeal has reached dangerous new heights; FCC chairman Ajit Pai canceled his appearance at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January reportedly due to death threats.
The animus towards Pai continued offline as well, as Pai told Fox News in an interview Monday that near his suburban home in Virginia, someone put up cardboard signs targeting his children. One sign read, “They will come to know the truth. Dad murdered Democracy in cold blood.”
Pai told Fox & Friends, “I understand that people are passionate about policy, but the one thing in America that should remain sacred is that families, wives and kids, should remain out of it. And stop harassing us at our homes.”