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Senate Democrats Poised for Small Victory on Net Neutrality

Roll Call logo Roll Call 5/16/2018 Niels Lesniewski

Senate Democrats won’t be scoring many legislative victories this year. So Wednesday’s expected win on a joint resolution that would upend the effort by the Federal Communications Commission to reverse Obama-era regulations on net neutrality will be cause for mild celebration.

The Senate voted, 52-47, in favor of a motion to proceed to the measure under the expedited rules of the Congressional Review Act, with the chamber expected to pass the resolution mid-afternoon.

Sen. Edward J. Markey has led the charge on the resolution that would effectively bring back net neutrality rules. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo) © Provided by CQ Roll Call, Inc. Sen. Edward J. Markey has led the charge on the resolution that would effectively bring back net neutrality rules. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats, led by Sen. Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, picked up the support of Sen. Susan Collins. The backing of the Maine Republican was known in advance, but it still underscores just how close the margins are on the Senate floor. Two more Republicans, Louisiana’s John Kennedy and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, voted to proceed to the measure as well. 

Still, with the measure facing certain opposition in the House, it will be little more than a symbolic victory for the Democrats. It could, however, be yet another issue to motivate their voters to head to the polls in November.

That’s the hope of political organizations like the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

“Net Neutrality has the potential to motivate young and progressive voters to turn out in the midterms, and we certainly welcome their support, as well as all privacy- and liberty-loving Americans who recognize that the Republican Party has abandoned these fundamental values,” DCCC spokesman Tyler Law said in a statement ahead of the Senate votes.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has used non-skippable ads to promote the effort, and the push to restore the old net neutrality rules has been a recurring theme in Democratic fundraising material, including pitches in support of some of the vulnerable incumbent Senate Democrats on the ballot in 2018. 

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