Today on the Hill: Dems to Force Net Neutrality Vote in Senate; House Starts Farm Bill Debate

The Senate will finally break from its stream of judicial confirmations today for a vote on a closely-watched Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution (S.J. Res. 52) that would repeal the Federal Communications Commission’s “Restoring Internet Freedom” rule that would end ‘net neutrality’ for Internet content. While most Republicans oppose the measure, Democrats are using a procedure outlined in the CRA that can force votes on resolutions — as opposed to bills — even without the majority party’s support.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) is expected to join all Democrats in approving the resolution, with Sens. John Kennedy (R-LA) and Dean Heller (R-NV) also reportedly undecided on how they intend to vote this afternoon. Regardless, with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) still out of Washington receiving cancer treatment, the 49 Democrats plus Sen. Collins should be enough to see the measure approved in the upper chamber. The resolution remains highly unlikely to be enacted into law as it lacks sufficient Republican support in the House and President Trump would be likely to issue a veto if it reached his desk.

The House is moving to the more substantive part of its weekly docket today by starting consideration of the farm bill (H.R. 2) and voting on two other measures, namely a bill that would provide more harsh punishments for crimes targeting law enforcement officers (H.R. 5698) and a Senate-passed bill that would alter policy on veterans’ remains buried on federal lands (S. 2372). Twenty amendments have already been filed for floor consideration for the farm bill and debate on the measure is likely to stretch into tomorrow.