Senator John Thune is an asshole. Youll have to pardon my profanity, but the most transparent scam in US political history is unfolding in front of us and its difficult to parse information coming out of the post-truth world that Washington D.C. has become. CNBC liked TNW Conference that muchLet me start over: The US Senate today voted 52-47 in favor of a Congressional Review Act (CRA) to rescind the repeal of net neutrality. But according to Senator John Thune, if it were to miraculously make it to the House (which is likely to simply refuse to hear it) and even more incredulously pass there, it will be vetoed by the President. This isnt a win folks. Weve said it before: net neutrality is dead and its time to move on. Because the real fight isnt for Obamas net neutrality, its against Marsha Blackburns. Before we move on, its worth pointing out that the following GOP Senators voted to send the resolution to the House: Susan Collins, John Kennedy, and Lisa Murkowski. Kudos to them for caring about the problem. But, today isnt about solutions: its about drama. In the hours leading up to todays vote, Senators on both sides were called upon to debate the idea of net neutrality. When I started writing this, Id been listening to the debate for approximately three hours. Heres the three reasons why most of the GOP Senators urged the Democrats to vote against the CRA, according to Thune (paraphrased for brevity). First: Net neutrality made it harder for ISPs to provide broadband access to rural areas. This is demonstrably false. Its shocking to think anyone on the planet buys that line, because of how… many… times… this has been shown to be an outright lie. But Thune says it with great passion, and thats enough to convince some people. Second: It was based on Depression Era rules for phone companies. He says regulations from the 30s implemented during the Great Depression to keep Ma Bell from having a telephone company monopoly dont apply in todays modern world. He finds it incredible that anyone would think they do. Really John? You cant believe that people care about laws, rules, and regulations that are older than the technology they refer to, even if you cant explain what about them is outdated? On the one hand, hes an asshole. Heres a flowchart I made to demonstrate as much: And on the second of three hands (theres too much stupidity for just two), hes even more of an asshole. Protecting consumers never goes out of style. And furthermore the 2015 net neutrality bill was based on those same protections, but obviously terminology was updated — terms like throttling and fast-lanes didnt apply to Ma Bell. Small bookstores in the 30s werent concerned that the phone company would slow down the words coming out of their phones in exchange for more money from Amazon. But, if you look on the third hand, maybe hes got a point. By his logic, the second amendment is pretty damn outdated. It could use a new glance-over by some sober minded people who arent avowed firearms enthusiasts. Whats that you say? Its a non-starter? Oh goody, thats how we felt about net neutrality. Third: Cmon. Eh? Cmon! Trust us. Seriously, look at our face: why would Verizon do something that would hurt its customers just for more money? Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down. Never gonna turn around and desert you. Seriously, Thune said the reason net neutrality should be repealed is because telecommunications companies have promised not to throttle, fast-lane, block, or prioritize legal internet content, so theres no reason to enforce regulations. Trust them. Wink. The reality is: even though John Thune cant give one truth-based reason for supporting the net neutrality repeal, he has 928,428 – each of them dollars. It would have saved the taxpayers a lot of time and money if he and the other GOP majority-voters, rather than spend their half of the debate talking (lying), just dumped bags of money on the floor and pointed at the cash. The Next Webs 2018 conference is almost here, and itll be . Find out all about our tracks here.
The Senate has voted to save net neutrality, but dont get your hopes up: theres still a long, likely impossible journey ahead if the policy is to be saved in the immediate future. In a 52–47 vote today, senators voted to overturn the Federal Communication Commissions Restoring Internet Freedom Order, which took net neutrality rules off the books. They were able to do so using the Congressional Review Act, or CRA, which allows Congress to reverse recent decisions by government agencies. Republican control of Congress means that such a measure wouldnt normally even make it up for a vote; but the CRA allows senators to force a vote by obtaining 30 signatures. All 49 Democrats voted in favor, as well as Republican Senators Susan Collins, of Maine; John Kennedy, of Louisiana; and Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska. While advocates have argued that this is a step toward reinstating net neutrality, its really a long-shot attempt that seems to be meant more to get the issue back on voters minds — and to force politicians to take a position ahead of whats expected to be a tumultuous midterm election. In order for net neutrality to actually be reinstated, two more things have to happen. First, the House has to use the CRA to overturn the policy as well. Thats even harder. Instead of 30 signatures, net neutrality supporters have to collect signatures from a full majority of House members. Even if they get every single Democrat on board — and they dont have that yet — theyd still need the support of 22 Republicans. And finally, if that happened and they all voted to reverse the policy, itd still have to get signed by President Trump, who is not a fan of the policy. While its obviously an uphill battle, net neutrality advocates seem to be holding out hope that they could actually get through the House, too. Theres a degree of bipartisan agreement that something needs to be done on net neutrality. And with midterms coming up, representatives in challenging districts may be more inclined to support the popular, consumer-friendly policy. As for Trump, well, you never know exactly how hes going to wake up each day, or so the argument goes. In reality, this is more about setting up whatever comes next for net neutrality, likely a few years down the line. The general consensus at this point is that net neutrality is now out of the FCCs hands, and that Congress will have to act to reinstate some of its outgoing rules. Its not at all clear how soon thatll happen, but forcing Congress to take a vote helps to clarify the playing field and make sure its something legislators are thinking about.