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Senate to vote on net neutrality repeal today, Obama counters with a veto threat (update: 52-46 vote in favor of net neutrality)

Senate to vote on net neutrality repeal today, Obama counters with a veto threat (update: 52-46 vote in favor of net neutrality)
Amar Toor
Amar Toor|@amartoo|November 10, 2011 9:25 AM
The US Senate is slated to vote on a repeal of the FCC's controversial net neutrality regulations today, just a few days before they're scheduled to go into effect. Today's vote, like most these days, is expected to be divided along party lines, with most Democrats standing in favor of the rules, and Republicans calling for them to be overturned. Texas Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, who sponsored the resolution, claims that the FCC's regulations would obstruct innovation and investment by jeopardizing the openness upon which the web has thrived, thus far. "The internet and technology have produced more jobs in this country than just about any other sector," Hutchinson argued. "It has been the cradle of innovation, it does not have a problem, and it does not need fixing." Senate Republicans aren't the only ones taking issue with the rules, either. Both Verizon and MetroPCS have already publicly aired their grievances, with the former filing a formal appeal in late September.

But Senate Commerce Chairman Jay Rockefeller believes the GOP-led opposition won't be strong enough to overcome his Democratic majority. "There's still 53 of us, and if we stay together we'll win," Rockefeller said. "I think we're going to prevail." Even if they don't, they'll still have the backing of the White House, which has already threatened to veto the resolution, should it survive past the Senate floor. "It would be ill-advised to 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," the White House said in a statement, adding that the FCC's rules provide an "effective but flexible" means of preserving the web's intrinsically wild, wild west nature. Rockefeller, however, certainly isn't banking on a presidential veto to bail his party out. "You can take the cheap way out and just say, 'What if we fail, then Obama will veto it,'" he explained. "But that speaks so badly of us." All told, it's shaping up to be another net neutrality showdown on the Hill, but we'll keep you updated on the latest developments.

Update: It wasn't an overwhelming victory, but the Senate today rejected the attempt to repeal the FCC's net neutrality rules in a 52 to 46 vote that fell largely along party lines.