A Senate bill that would reverse the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) move to repeal net neutrality has been ensured a vote on the chamber’s floor.
Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) spearheaded the measure, and on Monday he said it had received its 30th co-sponsor, meeting a procedural requirement to skip Senate committee approval.
The bill would use Congress’ authority under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to change course on the FCC’s dismantling of net neutrality protections.
“A big step toward restoring a free and open Internet: with the support of Senator Claire McCaskill, we now have the 30 votes we need to force a vote on my CRA to reverse the repeal of #NetNeutrality!” Markey wrote on Facebook, referencing the Missouri Democrat.
Republicans control both the House and Senate, leaving Markey’s bill with an uphill battle to the simple majorities needed for reaching President Trump’s desk.
Polls have shown net neutrality rules are beloved by voters, however, meaning GOP lawmakers may have to take a formal stance on the issue before the 2018 congressional elections.
The FCC last month voted to repeal net neutrality regulations, which mandated that internet service providers treat all web traffic equally.
The repeal was adopted along party lines, with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai (R) and the agency’s two GOP commissioners voting in favor and its two Democratic commissioners voting against.
The FCC’s decision followed months of raging debate over the regulations, which were implemented by former President Barack Obama’s administration in 2015.
The rules banned internet service providers from blocking, favoring or throttling certain content, and they were also forbidden from making internet “fast lanes.”
Critics of net neutrality have argued that the rules were heavy-handed government overreach that suffocated innovation and investment online.
Supporters countered that the regulations were crucial for stopping major internet service providers from abusing their power by acting as gatekeepers to online content.