On the 14th of December, 2017, the FCC officially voted to end the “Obama-era” net neutrality regulation named the Open Internet Order, despite fervent opposition from Congress, technical experts, the American people, and the founders and pioneers of the Internet itself. The 3-to-2 FCC vote, split along party lines, has been seen as a White House sponsored giveaway to massive telecommunications companies, and seems supported mainly by Trump, Russian spammers, and impersonated Americans.
Shortly after the vote, news outlets were reporting that Senators and members of Congress will be attempting to use the 1996 Congressional Review Act (CRA) to overturn the FCC decision. But can this favorite tool of Senate Republicans be used for good in this case?
TechCrunch paints a grim picture in an article entitled “There’s no magic bullet for reversing the FCC’s net neutrality decision.” As with many things, it comes down to basic math: while the 47 D – 2 I – 51 R divide in the Senate is surmountable, the 239 R – 193 D gap in Congress is essentially an impossible bridge to cross.
And, as TechCrunch notes, regarding the CRA-overrule’s unlikely passage through Congress,
Where does a bill go to become a law? The Oval Office.
Despite the unlikeliness of its success, using CRA in this case needs to be done. The FCC vote to kill #NetNeutrality needs to be one of the many ignominious medals pinned permanently to the chest of this administration, and the CRA is just the tool to hammer it home. The FCC had the opportunity to do the right thing and failed. The CRA provides a vehicle to allow the Senate and Congress to do likewise, and be punished for their failures if they don’t succeed.