On May 10, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced that the agency’s new rules repealing net neutrality would go into effect June 11. On Wednesday the U.S. Senate voted to approve a resolution that would stop that from happening.
NPR reports that Senate Democrats were joined by three Republicans—Susan Collins of Maine, John Kennedy of Louisiana and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska—bringing the vote to 52-47 in favor of the resolution of disapproval.
Although this is a major victory, it is mostly symbolic because the Republican-led House of Representatives is not expected to take similar action. Net neutrality will likely become a hot-button topic during the 2018 midterm elections.
As NPR notes, Republicans who want to shift regulatory power away from the federal government and toward the private market support the end of net neutrality. They claim that Democrats are playing on “unfounded fears” that internet service providers will jack up prices and anger customers.
Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.)—who runs the Senate GOP’s 2018 campaign operation and voted against the resolution—said, “If the Democrats want to run on regulating the internet, I think that’s a losing strategy.”
Democrats are betting that Wednesday’s vote, which shows voters just who is in favor of and who is against protecting access to the internet, will make it a big issue in November.
But Steve Kull, who runs the Program for Public Consultation at the University of Maryland and has studied public attitudes on net neutrality, doesn’t think it will be a strong-enough issue to motivate voters unless they experience changes to their internet costs, speed or access.
What do you think? Is the issue of net neutrality enough to make people get out and vote?