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Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) announced on Monday that he will file a discharge petition as part of the Congressional Review Act (CRA) on May 9–paving the way to force a vote on the Senate floor regarding the issue.
Last year, the FCC voted to rescind net neutrality rules–which ensured that all internet traffic is treated equally. Since then, lawmakers and internet activists have worked to push for the CRA as a way to undo the agency’s decision.
“We have the signatures. On May 9th, we officially file the petition to force a vote on the Senate floor to save #NetNeutrality,” Markey wrote on Twitter.
Markey’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment by the Daily Dot.
The discharge petition sets off a series of events aimed at overturning the FCC’s decision. The petition required only 30 lawmakers to co-sign it–and will force a vote in the Senate in the coming weeks.
During the full vote, it will need only a simple majority to pass. Fifty senators have already voiced support for the net neutrality CRA–meaning it is only one more Republican vote shy of securing a majority. Internet activists have set up tools for people to use to contact their lawmakers telling them to vote in favor of the CRA.
A similar CRA would also need to pass in the House of Representatives, however, they have more time to get the needed votes than the Senate.
With Markey’s announcement, internet activists say they are planning another internet-wide push to draw attention to the net neutrality CRA called “Red Alert.”
The protest will ask websites and individual internet users to post “alerts” online directing people to tell members of Congress that they support the CRA effort. The alerts will stay active from the day after the discharge petition is filed until the night before the Senate vote, according to organizers.
“This is a moment where the entire Internet needs to come together, as it has before, to sound the alarm and melt phones in Washington, D.C.,” Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, an internet advocacy group organizing the “Red Alert,” told the Daily Dot in an email. “We need to be louder than armies of lobbyists and massive campaign contributions and to do that we need all hands on deck. From the smallest blogs to the most popular places on the Internet–this is the moment to fight.”
You can read more about the “Red Alert” protest here.
Andrew Wyrich is a politics staff writer for the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the internet. Andrew has written for USA Today, NorthJersey.com, and other newspapers and websites. His work has been recognized by the Society of the Silurians, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).