WASHINGTON—In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today urged his Republican colleagues to vote to undo President Trump and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai’s repeal of net neutrality rules. Shortly after Durbin spoke, the Senate voted 52-47 to restore net neutrality. Three Republican senators joined with the entire Senate Democratic caucus in favor of the measure. Today’s vote follows Senate Democrats’ successful filing of a discharge petition to put Senator Ed Markey’s (D-MA) resolution of disapproval on the Senate’s legislative calendar, allowing any Senator to force a vote on the legislation. The measure next goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
“Today, every Senator will have the chance to tell their constituents exactly where they stood on this issue of personal freedom. Whether content on the internet should be treated equally and consumer access be a matter of how much you can pay. I think the answer is obvious. So do the overwhelming majority of Americans. Would the Republican Party please join us in a bipartisan effort to stand up for something that Americans across the board support? I urge my colleagues to support the concept of net neutrality and the CRA resolution before the Senate,” said Durbin.
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In December 2017, the 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 website.
The resolution of disapproval would rescind FCC Chairman Pai’s item and fully restore the Open Internet Order. Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolutions allow Congress to overturn regulatory actions at federal agencies with a simple majority vote in both chambers.
In December, Durbin joined 15 other Senators to announce their plan to introduce a CRA resolution that would restore the 2015 net neutrality rules.