“This is by no means a fight on any single front.” ~ Katharine Trendacosta, Electronic Frontier Foundation policy analyst
The battle for an open internet looks to continue whether or not legislators in the House employ a tool allowing them to expedite legislative process and require the Federal Communications Commission to revisit their “Restoring Internet Freedom” order that repealed net neutrality in December of 2017.
The Congressional Review Act was signed into law under the Clinton administration and is considered to be part and parcel to Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America. It’s been used both successfully and unsuccessfully since, but most frequently employed by the current administration for re-framing regulatory protocol.
The Trump administration has relied on the CRA process, employing it 16 times since January of 2017 as compared to its use under Obama, who vetoed a total of 5 bills passed via that both chambers had approved in this fashion over the course of his presidency.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Senate approved a CRA and though the lower chamber has yet to act on the legislation that expires with the end of the session, Katharine Trendacosta, a policy analyst with the Electronic Frontier Foundation contends there remains a field of avenues available to restoring a neutral net.
She told KGNU that the desire for an accessible internet is not a bipartisan issue as 82% of republicans and 90% democrats surveyed support the 2015 net neutrality rules that regulated the internet as a utility rather than an information service.
Several states through their attorneys general filed suit against the FCC in the immediate wake of the repeal, claiming a preemptive clause in the acency’s order prohibiting states from enacting net neutrality laws goes beyond the scope of their authority. The Department of Justice filed suit against California just hours after their governor signed into law a state bill that restored net neutrality.
Both petitioner and respondent have agreed to table the legal dispute until such time as the courts weigh in on Mozilla v the FCC, a case with the potential to make the point moot, should the courts find that the FCC improperly crafted the rules now governing the web. While the Mozilla Corporation is the named plaintiff, the list of petitioners includes several public interest organizations like Free Press and Public Knowledge.