Hot on the heels of a surprising 52-47 Senate disapproval of the FCCs new, weaker net neutrality rules, the House of Representatives will soon attempt to force a similar vote under the Congressional Review Act. Representative Mike Doyle (D-PA) announced in a statement and at a press conference following the Senate vote that he will begin the process first thing tomorrow morning. I have introduced a companion CRA in the house, Rep. Doyle said, but Im also going to begin a discharge petition which we will have open for signature tomorrow morning. And I urge every member whos uproots a free and open internet to join me and sign this petition so we can bring this legislation to the floor. The CRA requires Senate and House to submit the resolution itself, in the formers case Joint Resolution 52, after which a certain number of people to sign off on whats called a discharge petition, actually forces a vote. Senate votes to reverse FCC order and restore net neutralityIn the Senate this number is only 30, which makes it a useful tool for the minority party, which can easily gather that many votes if its an important issue (a full majority is still required to pass the resolution). But in the House a majority is required, 218 at present. Thats a more difficult ask, since Democrats only hold 193 seats there. Theyd need two dozen Republicans to switch sides, and while its clear from the defection of three Senators from the party line that such bipartisan support is possible, its far from a done deal. Todays success may help move the needle, though. Should the required votes be gathered, which could happen tomorrow, or take much longer, the vote will then be scheduled, though a congressional aide I talked to was unsure how quickly it would follow. It only took a week in the Senate to go from petition to floor vote, but that period could be longer in the House depending on how the schedule works out.
This afternoon, the Senate is set to vote on whether to nullify the FCCs removal of net neutrality protections. A group of Democratic senators forced the vote under the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to roll back agency regulations — in this case, the 2017 Restoring Internet Freedom Order. The resolution needs 51 votes to pass, which means a couple of Republicans will need to throw in their support; so far, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has crossed the line. The vote is expected to happen around 3PM ET today, but the Senate will start discussing it at 12PM ET, and you can catch the debate live on C-SPAN. As weve mentioned before, the resolution has a long road ahead even if it passes the Senate. It would need to be approved by a majority of the House of Representatives, then signed by President Trump, who would be rolling back a regulation crafted by his own FCC chairman Ajit Pai. But at the very least, its a chance to see where politicians come down on net neutrality. Time is also streaming the Senate debate and vote on its YouTube channel, which you can watch below.