A Republican effort to overturn the FCC’s net neutrality rules in the Senate was shot down today, two days after President Obama vowed to veto any such override. The regulations are set to take effect on November 20. Senate Democrats held off the charge with a 52-46 procedural vote that was mostly seen as symbolic after Obama’s pledge to block the rollback with what would have been only his third veto since taking office. The vote stopped the Republican bloc from further considering its resolution of disapproval, according to Politico; it’s unclear whether they group plans to mount another challenge. The White House backs the rules governing the Internet, saying that striking them down would “threaten the very foundations of innovation in the Internet economy and the democratic spirit that has made the Internet a force for social progress around the world.” That’s a sentiment backed by content creators and those who represent them, like the WGA, which applauded the Senate’s action today. “These regulations provide important safeguards for free speech, competition, innovation, and consumer choice,” WGA president Chris Keyser said. “The Web is far too important a public resource to hand over to a few powerful corporations.” On the other side of the debate, companies who provide Web services argue that the FCC doesn’t have the authority to set rules for the Internet. Verizon, for example, is among a group challenging the regulations in a D.C. court.
This would be just the third veto Barack Obama has made, but the White House says today that he’ll go there if the Senate on Thursday endorses a bill to upend the FCC’s net neutrality rules. The resolution to scrap the regulations — which are due to take effect on November 20 — is similar to one that the House passed in April. The Senate vote could be close: Texas Republican Kay Bailey Hutchinson’s bill has 42 co-sponsors. Supporters include Maine Republican Olympia Snowe, who favors net neutrality but says the issue should be decided by Congress — not the FCC. In today’s “Statement of Administration Policy,” the White House says that “the open Internet enables entrepreneurs to create new services without fear of undue discrimination by network providers.” For example, Comcast wouldn’t be able to favor transmissions over its broadband lines for a service it likes, such as Hulu, over those of a rival such as Netflix. The administration says that disapproval of net neutrality would “threaten the very foundations of innovation in the Internet economy and the democratic spirit that has made the Internet a force for social progress around the world.” If the Senate passes the bill, then the administration statement says “his senior advisers would recommend that he veto the Resolution.”