News & Politics

Net Neutrality Gets an Official Death Date—Senate Expected to Save It

The lawmakers are racing the clock.

FCC Chair Ajit Pai.
Photo Credit: Screenshot / YouTube

It's a big week for net neutrality. The FCC announced Thursday that it's going to end on June 11, to the dismay of the Democratic members of the commission.

“The agency failed to listen to the American public and gave short shrift to their deeply held belief that internet openness should remain the law of the land,” FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, said Thursday. “The FCC is on the wrong side of history, the wrong side of the law, and the wrong side of the American people.”

The Senate, however, is set to vote as soon as next week to restore those net neutrality rules.

According to Reuters, all of the chamber’s 47 Democrats, the two independents who caucus with the party and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) are expected to support the measure. That would outvote the remaining Republican senators, who are down one vote as Sen. John McCain of Arizona remains on medical absence. Potentially, other moderate Republicans could join Collins and back the effort.

Momentum coming out of the Senate could potentially help net neutrality in the House, but that's a hard sell given Speaker Paul Ryan's refusal to go against the Trump administration on everything. However, there's also that little matter of what looks exactly like a bribe that AT&T paid to Michael Cohen for unknown services after Trump's election. That transaction has been investigated by the Mueller team and should be examined by the Justice Department, say Democratic Sens. Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. The payments came as the administration was considering two critical issues to AT&T—their merger with Time Warner and net neutrality—and that looks pretty rotten.

"I think it ought to be a topic for the judiciary committee in connection with its continuing investigation, which I hope will review not only those payments, but also those payments that may well have been used to influence the president of the United States," Blumenthal said.

 

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Joan McCarter is the Senior Political Writer for Daily Kos.