The internet's fate has been in limbo since December, when the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) passed the "Restoring Internet Freedom" order, which overturned net neutrality— A.K.A. regulations that prevent big companies from being able to control internet content. However, on Wednesday, the Senate voted 52-47 on a resolution that aims to disapprove the FCC's order.
According to TechCrunch, the vote will "almost certainly not lead to the new rules being undone," but it's a step in the right direction — for Democrats at least. The issue is a partisan one, and Senate Democrats were the ones responsible for forcing Wednesday's vote in the first place, using the Congressional Review Act. 49 Senate Dems were joined by three Republicans — Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Sen. John Kennedy (Louisiana) — in voting to pass the bill.
The bill now faces a vote in the House, where at least 25 Republicans will have to voice their support for it and join a discharge petition. If passed there, President Trump's signature is next — unless a two-thirds majority occurs; though at the moment, that seems a bit far-fetched.
Still, Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pennsylvania) announced that he'd be moving the bill forward by releasing its discharge petition on Thursday. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-New York) also emphasized quick progress on the issue, calling on the House to act. "House Republicans don't have to choose the same path that the vast majority of Republicans in the Senate chose," Schumer said. "The American people have spoken. Speaker Ryan should listen."
In the meantime, proponents of net neutrality are celebrating Wednesday's ruling. The Washington Post reported that Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Massachusetts), declared the vote a "victory for democracy and the economy."
The ACLU, Fight for the Future, and a slew of other groups also praised the decision.
BREAKING: We did it! The Senate just voted to protect #NetNeutrality.
— ACLU (@ACLU) May 16, 2018
In a HISTORIC 52-47 vote—the U.S. Senate just passed the CRA resolution saving #NetNeutrality!
— Fight for the Future (@fightfortheftr) May 16, 2018
Others — including FCC chairman Ajit Pai, who led the passage of the Restoring Internet Freedom order — were obviously not in a celebratory mood.
"It’s disappointing that Senate Democrats forced this resolution through by a narrow margin," Pai said on Wednesday. "But, ultimately, I'm confident that their effort to reinstate heavy-handed government regulation of the Internet will fail."
Pai believes repealing net neutrality will lead to the end of the federal government "micromanaging the internet," while his opponents continue to argue for the regulations, declaring them a "necessary consumer protection," the Post reported.