Senate Democrats got enough Republican support Wednesday to win a vote to save open-internet rules, but ultimately victory in unlikely given Republican control of the federal government.


What: The Senate's vote was 52-47. Three Republicans -- Susan Collins of Maine, John Kennedy of Louisiana, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska -- joined 47 Democrats and two independents to block a Federal Communications Commission plan to undo Obama-era rules governing the internet.


Democrats used a law that allows Congress to reverse regulatory actions by a simple majority vote. But it was not clear if the House of Representatives will vote on the measure, and the White House has said it opposes repealing the December FCC order.


In 2015, the Obama-era FCC passed sweeping regulations that banned broadband providers from discriminating against lawful internet content. Last December, the now-Republican dominated FCC voted to get rid of those rules. 


The measure the Senate approved Wednesday, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, would block the FCC's December order, which is scheduled to take effect June 11. That would leave the net neutrality rules in place. 

Why: The 2015 rules were intended to ensure a free and open internet, give consumers equal access to Web content, and bar broadband service providers from favoring their own material or others. Polls have ​shown overwhelming public support for keeping the rules in place, and Democrats think the issue will help motivate young people to vote in the November midterm elections. 


On the other hand: Republicans ​​have argued that the market should be allowed to operate more freely so companies can innovate. Regulators will catch abuses of voluntary net neutrality principles as they arise, they said.


Republican Senator John Thune, who chairs the Commerce Committee, ​told Reuters Wednesday that "nothing is going to change" with the end of the rules.


“I don’t know how that animates people to vote if their Netflix is working,” he said.