Alabama’s newest senator, Democrat Doug Jones is wasting no time getting to work in Washington, D.C.
During the campaign, Jones asserted his support of net neutrality. On Tuesday, he made good on his word by announcing he will co-sponsor legislation to repeal the Federal Communications Commission‘s (FCC) decision to end its policy of net neutrality, also known as the Open Internet Order.
— Doug Jones (@GDouglasJones) November 28, 2017
“A free and open internet is crucial for our nation to remain a leader in the global economy, provide our children a quality education, and promote freedom of speech,” Jones said in a statement. “Repealing the Open Internet Order would allow companies to raise the price of internet access and discriminate against certain internet traffic. Restoring net neutrality is the right thing to do to protect Alabama consumers and to provide an equitable platform for companies of all sizes to compete for their customers.”
Jones’ sponsorship comes in the wake of the FCC’s December vote in favor of Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to roll back the net neutrality regulations, which prevented internet service providers like AT&T and Verizon from slowing down certain content or requiring websites to pay for faster speeds.
Now, in order to save net neutrality and counter the FCC’s decision to give internet providers the ability to slow or block some websites while speeding up others, Senate lawmakers must pass a resolution to repeal the new regulations under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), all within a 60-day window that began on Dec. 14.
Under the CRA, resolutions allow Congress to overturn regulatory actions at federal agencies with a simple majority vote in both chambers. In accordance with the CRA, the U.S. Senate will formally introduce the resolution after the rule is submitted to both houses of Congress and published in the Federal Register, and then force a vote within 60 legislative days.
Currently, Senate Democrats, who are leading the efforts, have recruited 50 votes in the Senate — all Democrats with one lone Republican to their side. They need one more Republican to join them to avoid a tiebreaker that would be decided by Vice President Mike Pence. Being a Republican, Pence would vote on the side of the FCC, thus shutting down the effort for good.