The Wall Street Journal: Senate votes to reinstate net neutrality, but odds of restoration remain slim

WASHINGTON — The Senate voted Wednesday to reinstate Obama-era open-internet rules, handing a symbolic defeat to the Trump administration over its efforts to roll back those regulations.

The measure, adopted by 52 to 47, still faces long odds of passage in the House. The White House also says it supports the current rules, adopted by the GOP-run Federal Communications Commission late last year, and many Republicans believe President Donald Trump would veto the reinstatement measure if it ever reached his desk.

The Obama-era FCC’s net-neutrality rules, adopted in 2015, required internet service providers such as cable and wireless firms to treat all online traffic equally. The rules barred them from blocking and throttling websites, or creating fast and slow lanes.

But the debate is sure to continue for months, in part because Democrats view it as good politics as well as good policy. Democratic leaders have said they believe battling with Republicans over reinstatement of the 2015 open-internet rules will help them get more millennials — especially millennial males — to support them at the polls in November. They also held out hope that the Senate action could frighten embattled House Republicans into supporting the measure, leading to an upset policy victory. They noted that in Wednesday’s vote three Senate Republicans crossed over to support the reinstatement.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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