With U.S. net neutrality rules set to expire June 11, the entire Senate Democratic caucus and one Republican Senator are planning to force a vote this week to restore the internet rules. Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) announced today that they will lead their Senate Democratic colleagues in forcing a vote on Wednesday, May 16 on Senator Markey’s Resolution of Disapproval to undo President Trump and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s repeal of the net neutrality rules.
Currently, all 49 members of the Senate Democratic caucus support the resolution, along with Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine). The resolution needs only a simple majority of Senators present to pass.
“The internet should be kept free and open like our highways, accessible and affordable to every American, regardless of ability to pay” said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer. “The repeal of net neutrality is not only a blow to the average consumer, but it is a blow to public schools, rural Americans, communities of color, and small businesses. A vote against this resolution will be a vote to protect large corporations and special interests, leaving the American public to pay the price.”
“From the GOP tax scam, to attacks on the Affordable Care Act, to rolling back fuel economy standards, and to net neutrality, the Trump administration has repeatedly ignored the needs of everyday American families,” said Senator Markey. “By passing my CRA resolution to put net neutrality back on the books, we can send a clear message to American families that we support them, not the special interest agenda of President Trump and his broadband baron allies. May 16 will be the most important vote for the internet in the history of the Senate, and I call on my Republicans colleagues to join this movement and stand on the right side of digital history.”
“The time has come for Congress to undo the FCC’s decision to repeal net neutrality rules,” said Senator Bill Nelson. “Will we stand with the American public, who understand why net neutrality is vital, or will we side with those who wish to control how we use the internet? The choice should be clear – the American public should always come first.”
“There is nowhere to hide, and there are no excuses. You are either for a free and open internet or you are not,” said Senator Schatz, lead Democrat on the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet. “This bill will get every member of the Senate on the record as either supporting or opposing net neutrality.”
In December 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to repeal the 2015 Open Internet Order, which the D.C. Circuit Court had upheld in 2016. The Open Internet Order prohibited internet service providers from blocking, slowing down, or discriminating against content online. Repealing the net neutrality rules could lead to higher prices for consumers, slower internet traffic, and even blocked websites. A recent poll showed that 86 percent of Americans do not approve of the FCC action to repeal net neutrality rules, including 82 percent of Republicans.