As many people know, on Dec. 14, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal Obama-era internet regulations, otherwise known as Net Neutrality. Net Neutrality provided the basic guidelines to keeping the modern open internet unbiased and available. The board members who voted to repeal the act blatantly ignored the wishes of thousands of citizens in order to further their own belief system. Some other government officials have expressed their own disappointment in the repeal of Net Neutrality. As predicted, the FCC voted to overturn net neutrality rules in November, 3-2 along party lines. But House Democrats have quietly put forward a bill using the Congressional Review Act, a little-known piece of legislation that up to now, had almost exclusively been used by Republicans to overturn federal rules put in place by the Obama administration.
The Congressional Review Act stipulates that Congress has 60 legislative days (days in which Congress is in session) to review final regulations from agencies and, if desired, pass joint resolutions of disapproval. Enacted in 1996, the bill had only been used once prior to 2016. By May of Donald Trump’s term of presidency, however, the bill had been enforced another 14 times. Officials used this act to deny Obama-era laws and deny any similar laws from passing. While Trump Republicans seemingly run to this bill, it happens to be the key to undoing Ajit Pai’s Net Neutrality repeal. This act requires 30 co-sponsors to be granted a senate vote and as of Jan. 8, the Senator of Missouri (Claire McCaskill) has become the last required cosponsor in order for this CRA to gain a vote on the senate floor. Once it gets to the floor, it would go through a motion to proceed, which requires a simple majority of 51 votes. Since Republicans have a 51-49 majority, they could kill the bill if they all vote against it. To pass it, Democrats would need two Republicans to cross over to support the motion to proceed—assuming all Democrats vote for it. If Democrats win and the bill gets beyond the motion to proceed, the resolution would again need 51 votes to pass in a final Senate vote.
The best shot of the bill passing in the vote would be to continue to contact your officials and let the government know that we are against Net Neutrality repeal.