Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) vowed to keep fighting to nullify the FCC's network neutrality rules rollback, which went into effect Monday (June 11), but in outlining the road ahead, he also put a spotlight on the up-Hill battle.
Doyle is shepherding the House version of a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to nullify FCC chair Ajit Pai's Restoring Internet Freedom Order. It has already passed the Senate, but the House is a far steeper climb.
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In a statement, Doyle slammed the rollback.
"Americans lost an important right today when the FCC’s order nullifying the federal Net Neutrality policy went into effect,” he said. “People won’t see any major changes today, but unless Net Neutrality is restored, consumers, innovator, and small businesses will see their service deteriorate, their choices decrease and their costs go up over time as Internet Service Providers start throttling internet speeds, blocking content and prioritizing service to hurt their competitors.”
ISPs have been saying nothing would change Monday, so critics are arguing that that is just a strategy to avoid immediate pushback, and, like the lobster in a pot with the water temperature raised slowly, the repercussions will only become apparent over time.
Doyle also said that he currently has 170 votes for a discharge petition that would force Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to hold a floor vote on the CRA. Ryan is unlikely to do so otherwise.
"We just need 50 more to get a vote," Doyle said, but that "just" is a big ask since the 170 does not even include all the Democrats, and the 50 more would have to include a couple dozen Republicans.
Net neutrality activists, including in Congress, hope to use the issue of the net neutrality rule rollback to turn more red seats blue in the midterm elections if they can't convince current members to support the CRA, which would have to pass in this Congress or forever hold its peace.
Republicans continue to try to get Democrats to drop the CRA and work on bipartisan net neutrality legislation, but Democrats counter that is a stall tactic and the bills they have offered up would impermissibly narrow the FCC broadband regulatory authority, a price they are not willing to pay to restore bright-line rules against blocking, throttling or even paid prioritization, says one highly placed Democratic Hill staffer.