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The US Senate this afternoon voted against a law to repeal new FCC rules that forbid internet service providers from favoring certain websites over others.
The 52-46 vote took place on strict party lines and for now appears to end Republicans’ hopes of overriding the FCC rules slated to go into effect later this month. The Senate vote comes after the House passed the bill last spring. The votes have been described as symbolic because President Obama has publicly stated he would veto any law that sought to override the net neutrality rules.
The internet service provider rules have been the source of long-running partisan fights. Republicans characterize the rules as needless regulation while Democrats claim the rules are necessary to prevent large companies from abusing their power by blocking or slowing down web traffic to certain sites while speeding traffic to sites of corporate allies.
Even though the Republicans appear to have failed to stop the FCC rules going into effect, the net neutrality debate is far from over. Internet companies led by Verizon have asked the courts to declare that the Commission lacks the statutory authority to regulate broadband internet. The Verizon case is expected to be heard next year by the Washington-based U.S. Court of Appeals.