Senators ask McConnell to bring net neutrality to a vote

A group of Democratic senators are calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to bring legislation that would reinstate net neutrality rules to a vote in the upper chamber.

The calls from Democrats in the Senate coincide with the one-year anniversary of the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC)’s party-line decision to repeal the Obama-era net neutrality rules.

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) in a speech on the Senate floor said he is calling for an “immediate” vote on the Save the Internet Act, which passed the House overwhelmingly earlier this year. The bill passed in a 232-190 vote, with just one Republican — Rep. Bill Posey (Fla.) — siding with Democrats in favor of the legislation.

“Under Senator McConnell’s leadership, the Republicans are trying to bury this bill in a legislative graveyard,” Markey said.

McConnell previously described the Save the Internet Act as “dead on arrival” on the Senate.

The Democrats, including Markey, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) — the ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee — took to the Senate floor to voice their support for a Senate vote on the bill.

“Net neutrality may still be a term that some people aren’t familiar with but what it’s all about is a free and open Internet,” Wyden said. “After you pay your internet access fee, you get to go where you want, when you want and how you want. That is what net neutrality is all about.”

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, on the floor rejected Democrats’ arguments, calling them hyperbolic.

“I’ve been amazed over the last year and a half, and even longer, at the intense overblown rhetoric about this issue of net neutrality and about the hyperbole that we heard on the floor of the Senate and elsewhere,” Wicker said. “[Internet service providers] are delivering on consumers’ expectations.”