Net Neutrality: What’s Next?
Yesterday, the Senate passed a “Joint Resolution of Disapproval” (S.J. Res. 52) of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) repeal of the 2015 Net Neutrality rules it passed under former FCC Chair Tom Wheeler (D). The vote was 52-47.
So, naturally, you’re probably wondering, “Ok, now what?”
Let’s start with the provision of the Congressional Review Act of 1996 (CRA) that defines how this process works.
The United States Code, under 5 U.S. Code §802, describes the CRA procedure that allows Congress to nullify agency rules sent to Congress. Since the Senate has passed S.J. Res. 52, it now heads to the House. If the House approves the resolution, it will then go to the president’s desk for signature.
But here’s where it can get tricky: The House can now introduce its own resolution:
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As you can see, this process would be highly susceptible to being politicized were it not for a mechanism that prevents the receiving chamber (since either chamber can pass a joint resolution) from sending it down to its committee — “committee with jurisdiction”, where it could be debated ad infinitum. (In this case, that would be the House Energy & Commerce Committee.)
But that doesn’t prevent the receiving chamber from taking up its own joint resolution. It just has to start the CRA process from the beginning and introduce it in its own committee, going through the entire process.
Then it must vote on the joint resolution that came from the other Chamber first, before passing its own resolution.
This is precisely the process that Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) is following as he seeks to force the resolution to a floor vote and introduce a “companion” joint resolution in the House.
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*Just so you know, this isn’t legal advice, there’s no attorney-client privilege here, and this is for informational purposes only.