It’s not over till it’s over. And for opponents of government policies, it doesn’t begin until it’s published in the Federal Register. The Republican-controlled FCC voted on December 14 to scrap net neutrality regulations enacted during its Democrat-majority days, and it released the final order back on January 4. But publishing the plan in the Federal Register, which happened today, makes the process official and starts two countdown clocks for opponents.
10 Days: That’s how long supporters of net neutrality regulations have to file lawsuits challenging the abolition plan. Cases will likely argue that the FCC’s decision was “arbitrary and capricious” for not properly assessing public input on its plan. The elephant in this legal room is the pile of several million fraudulent comments that were submitted unbeknownst to the people, some deceased, whose names were on them.
60 Days: That’s the window for lawmakers to pass a Congressional Review Act resolution rejecting the FCC plan. Congress used a CRA last year to scrap privacy rules for ISPs, demonstrating how unlikely it is for the same Congress to restore other internet regulations. In the Senate, the entire Democratic caucus plus Republican Susan Collins have signed on to a CRA. One more supporter would provide the 51st vote the measure needs to pass, and activists are rallying to win a convert. But it’s unimaginable that the House of Representatives (with a 45-seat Republican majority) would follow suit. Representative Mike Doyle has just over 100 CRA supporters in the 435-member body. And then the president, who appointed the current FCC chairman, would have to sign the resolution.