By Dana Floberg, Free Press
This Thursday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and the two other Republican commissioners are likely to vote to strike down the Net Neutrality protections and break the open internet.
There’s still a small chance we could stop this vote — but if we lose the rules, what’s next?
First of all, Free Press will take the FCC to court. Suing the FCC poses the best chance for us to win back strong Title II protections.
While our legal team battles in the courts, we need to urge our champions in Congress to pass a “resolution of disapproval” to overturn the FCC’s decision.
That’s right. Congress has the power to restore the Net Neutrality rules we fought so hard for.
Using the Congressional Review Act (CRA), Congress can pass a resolution that would nullify the FCC’s planned repeal of the Net Neutrality rules.
You may remember the CRA from last spring, when privacy opponents used it to roll back the Obama-era FCC’s strong broadband-privacy rules. If we lose Net Neutrality, we need to turn the tables.
The CRA empowers Congress to review new regulations and pass a joint resolution of disapproval to overrule any recent regulations it doesn’t like. Overturning Pai’s misleadingly named “Restoring Internet Freedom Order” would leave us with the exact same Net Neutrality protections we won in 2015, based on the firm legal grounding of Title II.
Think of it as a double negative: If we repeal Pai’s repeal, we end up right back where we started — with strong Net Neutrality rules.
Longtime Net Neutrality supporters Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Mike Doyle have already gotten the ball rolling, promising to introduce a resolution of disapproval as soon as Pai moves forward with his plans to end the open internet.
Perhaps most importantly, a resolution of disapproval would avoid the dangerous pitfalls of negotiating a new Net Neutrality bill. While new legislation would force us to compromise for weaker rules to win bipartisan support, a resolution of disapproval would completely restore our current strong rules.
Passing new Net Neutrality legislation would be like reinventing the wheel: risky, and more effort than it’s worth. Passing a resolution of disapproval would be just like hitting the “undo” button.
As Free Press fights for Net Neutrality in the courts and in the streets, we need our allies in Congress to fight side by side for a clean rollback of Pai’s bogus plan.