The House of Representatives successfully passed a measure that would reinstate the same net neutrality rules that the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal back in 2017. This is ironic, isn’t it? I mean, first, the FCC implemented the net neutrality rules under President Barack Obama. Then, the FCC repealed the rules under President Donald Trump, and now Democrats are trying to get those Obama-era rules back. Which is why the Save the Internet Act was established and eventually pushed through the House of Representatives. When people say that government or even the political process is a waste of time and money, this is what they are referring to. Was the repeal the will of the people? Or just a political power play?
All of that aside, the Save the Internet Act was approved 232-190 this week, after months of debate and committee hearings in the House. The measure was introduced last month in both chambers by Representative Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA). The bill received a lot of support from consumer advocacy groups and the American people. According to House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the Save the Internet Act is a way for democrats to honor the will of the people. So I guess that answers my original question.
The measure would, once again, make it illegal for internet service providers like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile to block or throttle consumer access to the internet and empower the FCC as the main authority to enforce those rules by way of Title II of the Communications Act. The main issue with all of this is the distinctions for the internet with Title I and Title II. And when the Democrats once again announced that they were planning to bring back net neutrality, this same debate was brought forward once again.
What difference do these Titles make to the legislation? When internet providers are classified as Title II common carriers rather than a Title I communications services, they’re held to a higher regulatory standard similar to telephone, gas, and electric services. It also ensures that the FCC is able to enforce these rules and punish providers that are caught engaging in behaviors that would be unlawful under the Save the Internet Act. Essentially, making sure that these organizations follow the law in the first place.
What’s interesting is that Republicans have started to propose their own net neutrality measures. Most of which would outlaw block and throttling, but wouldn’t reinstate the Title II provisions. But according to Democrats, without Title II, these ISP’s would go unchecked and the rules wouldn’t be enforced. Unfortunately, this bill may go no further. In order to approve a measure like this, the Senate needs a supermajority, which totals about 60 votes and that is going to be very difficult for the Democrats to get. In fact, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has indicated that the measure would be “dead on arrival” once it is sent over from the House of Representatives.
Even if it made it through the Senate, we all know that Donald Trump would put a veto on the bill. Which begs the question – should the Democrats have gone this far with this particular measure? I guess another way of saying this is, should you enter a fight that you know you’re going to lose? In this case, I think it was necessary to demonstrate to the American people that the Democrats are supportive of