Congressional Review Act: How Can Congress Undo FCC’s Net Neutrality Vote?

It’s not dead yet.

The Federal Communications Commission might have voted to dismantle the Obama administration’s net neutrality effort, but Democrats, who demonstrated alongside angry members of the public when the vote took place, have already introduced a plan to undo the FCC’s decision.

Spearheading the effort is Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), a longtime consumer advocate on technology issues. He announced he will introduce a measure under the Congressional Review Act (CRA).

“With this CRA, Congress can correct the Commission’s misguided and partisan decision and keep the internet in the hands of the people, not big corporations,” Markey said.

The CRA empowers Congress to review, by means of an expedited legislative process, new federal regulations issued by government agencies and, by the passage of a joint resolution, to overrule a regulation. The CRA also prohibits the reissuing of the rule in substantially the same form or the issuing of a new rule that is substantially the same “unless the reissued or new rule is specifically authorized by a law enacted after the date of the joint resolution disapproving the original rule” once a rule is repealed.

The resolution has already garnered support from Democrats. As of yesterday afternoon, it had 16 co-sponsors, including Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM).

No Republicans have expressed their public support for the measure, but Senator Markey acknowledges it will take time to build a coalition to reinstate net neutrality rules.

“Our Republicans colleagues have a choice,” Markey said in his statement Thursday. “Be on the right side of history and stand with the American people who support net neutrality, or hold hands with the big cable and broadband companies who only want to supercharge their profits at the expense of consumers and our economy.”

Yesterday, Markey warned there would be hefty political implications following the FCC’s decision, a sign that Democrats intend to make net neutrality a headlining issue in next year’s midterm elections.

“They are going to know, all of those in Congress all of those in the FCC that there is going to be a political price to pay for taking net neutrality away from the American people,” he said. “This is a fundamental issue of equality so that the smallest entrepreneur, the smallest voice has equal access to the internet.”

His colleague, Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA), agreed.

“We invented the internet,” said Khanna to the throng of incensed protesters yesterday. “We should be paying the cheapest amount.”

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