By: Julie Bort of Business Insider
On Monday, Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri announced she was the 30th senator to call for the Senate to vote on whether to restore net-neutrality rules.
Thirty is the “magic number of cosponsors needed to get a #NetNeutrality vote in the full Senate,” she tweeted.
Net neutrality means internet service providers, like your cable company, can’t do things like slow down or block certain websites or apps – like Netflix or Google, or those from their competitors – or charge you more to access them.
The rules were put in place in 2015, during the Obama administration, to keep the people who own the wires that bring you the internet – for which you pay a monthly fee – from giving their other businesses a competitive advantage.
But last month, the Republican-led Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal net-neutrality rules, despite an outpouring of comments from those who believe that handing such control over to cable companies and other ISPs is a bad for everyone but the ISPs.
Soon after the vote, Democratic Sen. Edward Markey of Massachusetts, a member of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, said he planned to introduce a resolution under the Congressional Review Act to allow the Senate to vote on whether to restore the rules.
As you might expect, all the senators sponsoring the resolution are Democrats (except for Sens. Bernie Sanders and Angus King, independents who caucus with the Democratic Party).
But forcing a vote alone isn’t enough to restore the rules – Democratic senators can approve the resolution with a simple-majority vote, so at least two Republicans would have to vote to support the effort, too. Then it would head to the House and, if approved there, the president’s desk.
But the brilliant part is that even if everyone votes along party lines and the resolution fails, senators will have had to take a public stand either way. And those Republicans who voted against it will have handed a bit of political fodder to opponents ahead of the midterm elections this fall.