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Tag Archives: net neutrality vote

Representatives rip FCC Chairman Pai’s ‘lack of candor’ and double down on net neutrality questions

Thirteen members of Congress have written to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai criticizing his “repeated evasive responses to our inquiries” and “outright refusal to respond to some of the members of this Committee.” Unsatisfied with the answers or evasions he has offered to date, they reiterate questions related to net neutrality and other issues that they’ve sent over the past months. “While we appreciate your continued willingness to testify before our Committee, we are concerned that you have been unable to give complete responses to verbal questions, questions for the record, or oversight letters from our members,” reads the letter from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Democrats. “We take our oversight responsibilities very seriously, and we expect witnesses before the Committee and recipients of our letters to treat their responses the same way,” they wrote. These Representatives, led by Frank Pallone Jr (D-NJ) and Mike Doyle (D-CO), have sent multiple letters of inquiry to Pai over run-up to and aftermath of the net neutrality vote . In June, they questioned the nature of and response to the cyberattack on FCC systems during the net neutrality comment period. Pai responded saying that much of what they asked he could not answer because the threat was “ongoing” and revealing the measures they took would “undermine” them. 10 members of Congress rake FCC over the coals in official net neutrality comment Before the passage of the rules, they warned that the FCC’s proposal “fundamentally and profoundly runs counter to the law,” and that they spoke with the authority of people who had helped craft that particular law. Pai’s response to this may be considered the rule itself, which he clearly believes is completely lawful and justifies itself in its lengthy preamble. After the vote, they sent a letter asking about numerous problems relating to the comment system and why, for example, their own comments were not addressed. Pai responded to a number of letters taking issue with the FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom order with a form letter of his own that assured his august pen pals that everything was fine. The inadequate responses to these and many other letters (on such issues as media regulation and 911 issues) clearly got the Committee to the point where they felt they had to strike back. A sternly worded letter may not do any more now than it did over the last year, but a paper trail of displeasure and responses with a distinct “lack of candor,” as Rep. Pallone put it, could be useful down the road.

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After Senate victory, House announces plans to force its own vote on net neutrality

Hot on the heels of a surprising 52-47 Senate disapproval of the FCC’s new, weaker net neutrality rules, the House of Representatives will soon attempt to force a similar vote under the Congressional Review Act. Representative Mike Doyle (D-PA) announced in a statement and at a press conference following the Senate vote that he will begin the process first thing tomorrow morning. “I have introduced a companion CRA in the house,” Rep. Doyle said, “but I’m also going to begin a discharge petition which we will have open for signature tomorrow morning. And I urge every member who’s uproots a free and open internet to join me and sign this petition so we can bring this legislation to the floor.” The CRA requires Senate and House to submit the resolution itself, in the former’s case Joint Resolution 52 , after which a certain number of people to sign off on what’s called a discharge petition, actually forces a vote. Senate votes to reverse FCC order and restore net neutrality In the Senate this number is only 30, which makes it a useful tool for the minority party, which can easily gather that many votes if it’s an important issue (a full majority is still required to pass the resolution). But in the House a majority is required, 218 at present. That’s a more difficult ask, since Democrats only hold 193 seats there. They’d need two dozen Republicans to switch sides, and while it’s clear from the defection of three Senators from the party line that such bipartisan support is possible, it’s far from a done deal. Today’s success may help move the needle, though. Should the required votes be gathered, which could happen tomorrow, or take much longer, the vote will then be scheduled, though a Congressional aide I talked to was unsure how quickly it would follow. It only took a week in the Senate to go from petition to floor vote, but that period could be longer in the House depending on how the schedule works out.

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Net neutrality will officially die on June 11

After months of tension and a variety of smaller milestones, the FCC order voiding 2015’s net neutrality rules and instating its own, much weaker ones will finally take effect on June 11, the agency’s chairman Ajit Pai said today . Although the rule was approved in December, entered into the Federal Register in February, and under ordinary circumstances would have taken effect in April, “Restoring Internet Freedom” had one extra step that needed to be taken. The Office of Management and Budget needed to take a look at the rule because it changed how the industry reported information to the government, and under the Paperwork Reduction Act that authority had to approve the final version. That approval was granted on May 2, the FCC explained in a news release, and June 11 was picked as the effective date “to give providers time to comply with the transparency requirement.” The Congressional Review Act paperwork filed yesterday means the Senate will soon be voting on whether the rules can stay in place, but the likelihood of that bill passing the Senate and House and getting signed by the President is pretty much nil. Still, the votes will put proponents and opponents of net neutrality in the open and potentially make it an election issue. Lawsuits alleging various flaws in the process or rule itself may eventually cause it to be rolled back, but that will take months, if not years, and lacking evidence of direct harm judges are unlikely to take the rules out of effect while considering the case. Don’t expect much to happen immediately should the new rule take place; the industry is too savvy to blast out some new, abusive rules under the far more permissive framework established by this FCC. But as before, consumers will often be the first to spot shady behaviors and subtle changes to the wording of marketing or user agreements, so keep your eyes open and tip your friendly neighborhood tech blog if you see something. In a statement accompanying Pai’s announcement, Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel made her position clear: The agency failed to listen to the American public and gave short shrift to their deeply held belief that internet openness should remain the law of the land. The agency turned a blind eye to serious problems in its process—from Russian intervention to fake comments to stolen identities in its files. The FCC is on the wrong side of history, the wrong side of the law, and the wrong side of the American people. It deserves to have its handiwork revisited, reexamined, and ultimately reversed

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Senators file to force vote on disapproval of FCC’s new net neutrality rules

The Democratic push to restore net neutrality took another step today with the official filing of a petition, under the Congressional Review Act, to force a vote on whether to repeal the FCC’s unpopular new rules. The effort may be doomed in the end, but it’s still extremely important. The CRA is a way of reversing rules recently instated by federal agencies; it’s simple and effective, though, until this administration, rarely used (but they made up for lost time, all right). Its expedited process and low bar to entry — only 30 senators are needed to bring a vote, and the vote generally happens quite quickly — have made it an ideal tool for Congress to undo Obama-era regulations, but the shoe is on the other foot now. Democrats in the Senate are using the CRA as a potential method of removing the rules the FCC voted for in December and returning to 2015’s Open Internet Order and strong net neutrality rules. Today they filed the actual petition to force the vote. “This is the fight for the internet,” said Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) in a press conference introducing the action. “By passing this resolution, we can send a clear message that this Congress won’t fall to the special interest agenda of President Trump and his broadband baron allies, but rather will do right by the people that send us here.” You can watch the whole proceeding below: Today, the petition that allows U.S. Senate Democrats to force a vote on my resolution to save #NetNeutrality is being officially filed.We are approaching the most important vote for the internet in the history of the Senate, and we are just #OneMoreVote away from securing victory. Join me and my colleagues in this historic moment and help us kick off a week of action to #SaveTheInternet: Posted by Senator Edward J. Markey on Wednesday, May 9, 2018 Right now there are 50 senators supporting the measure, including one Republican. The Democrats are hoping to make this issue extremely visible in order to put pressure on other, perhaps undecided, Republicans who might cross the aisle with enough prodding from their constituency. As I’ve written before , and as Senators themselves have admitted, the chance of this actually rolling back the rules is low, since it would have to also pass through the House, where Democrats are at a more serious disadvantage, then be signed by the president, which is unlikely, to say the least

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Net neutrality is officially dead today, but the fight to revive it lives on

Net neutrality’s protracted, multi-phase death scene has finally come to an end with a whimper as the FCC rules proposed in May , voted on in December and entered in the Federal Register in February finally come into effect today. But as before, don’t expect some big fanfare by broadband providers and a sudden ratcheting up of prices. Things are going to stay quietly tense for a while. Should you be worried? No. But you should stay angry . “Restoring Internet Freedom” may have taken effect, but the truth is that the 2015 net neutrality rules have been out of effect since the FCC was shuffled under the new administration. Under Chairman Ajit Pai’s FCC, those rules were unlikely to be enforced from the day he took over; he was, in fact, promising industry leaders that they’d be rolled back as soon as possible soon after assuming his new office. But ISPs, battered but wise from more than a decade of legal battling, knew there was more to it than a friendly face in the FCC. The rules would face serious legal challenges, as the previous ones did for years after their adoption. It would be premature to enact policies in the new freedom of the post-Title-II era, though they may allow themselves to hope (and prepare). As they expected, opposition is organized and actually has a non-trivial chance of success.

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