Demonstrators rally outside the Federal Communications Commission building to protest against the end of net neutrality rules Dec. 14, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Senate Democrats on Monday secured enough co-sponsors to force a vote on a Congressional Review Act resolution to overturn the repeal of net neutrality rules by the Federal Communications Commission last week.

The CRA resolution (pdf) was introduced by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) shortly after the FCC first voted to repeal net neutrality last month. It needed 30 co-sponsors in order to get a vote, and Markey announced Monday that Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) had become the 30th co-sponsor.

McCaskill also shared the news on Twitter, saying that she was “[p]roud to be that 30th cosponsor of @SenMarkey bill to restore free and open internet.”

Advertisement

Let me preface this by saying, don’t get too excited. Just because they’re forcing a vote doesn’t mean they will win the vote. And even if they do win the vote, that doesn’t mean they’ll get it to pass the House of Representatives. And even if it passes the House, there’s no way Donald Trump doesn’t veto it.

The Congressional Review Act of 1996 established a procedure through which Congress could override regulatory rules (e.g., the repeal of net neutrality) issued by federal agencies (in this case the FCC) by passing a joint resolution of disapproval. In order to qualify for expedited consideration, the resolution has to be submitted within 60 days of when Congress receives the rule from the agency.

Advertisement

The FCC just released its grossly misnamed Restoring Internet Freedom Order on Thursday.

Senate Democrats got their 30th co-sponsor today.

Let’s hope they keep that same energy.

All of this could be for nothing, but it’s still a start, and it means that we have another opportunity to flex our voices and make ourselves heard.

Advertisement

We can call our congressional representatives. We can call our senators. We can sign petitions and send emails. We can make sure there is no doubt about the will of the people. We have to be loud enough for the president to hear us.

The open internet is important for the free sharing of ideas. It is required for the full expression of our First Amendment rights.

Don’t let it get stripped away.