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Net neutrality supporters have publicly protested the FCC's repeal and cheered efforts to role it back. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

A group led by Senate Democrats have filed a petition Wednesday that will force the body to vote on a resolution rolling back the Republican Federal Communications Commission's repeal of net neutrality rules.

Why it matters: It brings the net neutrality issue back to the fore during a midterm election year, and Democrats hope that will resonate with younger voters.

“By passing my CRA resolution, we restore the rules that ensure Americans aren’t subject to higher prices, slower internet traffic, and even blocked websites because the big internet service providers want to bloat their profits. This upcoming Senate vote will be our opportunity to save net neutrality and deliver the digital future that Americans deserve.”
— Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.)

How it works:

  • Once the petition is filed, it allows the Senate to vote to debate the measure.
  • After 10 hours of debate, it would come to a vote and, if it passes with a simple majority, head to the House of Representatives.
  • A Democratic congressional source noted a vote on the measure could come as soon as next week, though the deadline for a vote is June 12.

The math: The measure has 50 supporters, including Republican Susan Collins and every Senate Democrat — leaving it one vote short of passage.

  • But, but, but: With 50 votes, the resolution has the support it needs to pass the Senate should John McCain be absent, as has been the case during much of his cancer treatment.

Tech firms that support net neutrality rules — banning internet providers from engaging in blocking, throttling and paid prioritization — will add messages about the issue to their websites starting Wednesday. Participating sites include Etsy and Tumblr. (There have been several events like this over the last year with limited impact.)

Yes, but: The Senate was always the easy part. The measure has a much harder road in the House — and could still be vetoed by President Trump.

Go deeper

Senate retirements could attract GOP troublemakers

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Roy Blunt's retirement highlights the twin challenge facing Senate Republicans: finding good replacement candidates and avoiding a pathway for potential troublemakers to join their ranks.

Why it matters: While the midterm elections are supposed to be a boon to the party out of power, the recent run of retirements — which may not be over — is upending that assumption for the GOP in 2022.

Congressional diversity growing - slowly

Data: Brookings Institution and Pew Research Center; Note: No data on Native Americans in Congress before the 107th Congress; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The number of non-white senators and House members in the 535-seat Congress has been growing steadily in the past several decades — but representation largely lags behind the overall U.S. population.

Why it matters: Non-whites find it harder to break into the power system because of structural barriers such as the need to quit a job to campaign full time for office, as Axios reported in its latest Hard Truths Deep Dive.

Staff for retiring Senate Republicans a K Street prize

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The retirements of high-profile Senate Republicans mean a lot of experienced staffers will soon be seeking new jobs, and Washington lobbying and public affairs firms are eyeing a potential glut of top-notch talent.

Why it matters: Roy Blunt is the fifth Republican dealmaker in the Senate to announce his retirement next year. Staffers left behind who can navigate the upper chamber of Congress will be gold for the city’s influence industry.