Senate Democrats say they’re just one vote short of being able to pass a resolution to reinstate net neutrality, according to The Washington Post. But as close as that may sound to success, Democrats are still miles away from actually being able to reverse the FCC’s decision.
With the swearing in of Doug Jones earlier this month, Democrats now hold 49 seats in the Senate. That puts them just two votes shy of being able to stop any legislation — or in this case, pass something of their own. To get to 50, Democrats did have to reach across the aisle: Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has been one of the few Republicans willing to break with her party on contentious issues.
But Democrats still need one more Republican to get past Vice President Mike Pence’s tie-breaking vote, and it’s not clear who that would be. Republicans have largely appeared to be in favor of scrapping the net neutrality plan and letting cable companies do what they’d like.
More importantly, even if another Republican did defect, there are still two additional and very likely impassible hurdles: the House, and President Donald Trump. The House of Representatives would also have to pass a resolution reversing the FCC’s decision by majority vote, and in that chamber, Republicans have a more than 40-seat advantage. That’s a lot more people to win over. And even if both chambers did pass it, they would somehow have to avoid a veto from Trump, who supported the FCC’s action to get rid of net neutrality.
For the most part, this is just a way for Democrats to force the issue and rile up net neutrality supporters all over again. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said recently that Democrats plan to turn net neutrality into an issue in the midterm elections later this year, using the strong support for net neutrality as a way to draw support for Democratic candidates. Getting Republican senators on the record about where they stand is a good place to start.