Senate Votes to Restore Net Neutrality

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The Senate voted on May 16 to pass a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution that would roll back the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Restoring Internet Freedom Order. The CRA, which allows Congress to disapprove regulatory rules by federal agencies, would reinstate net neutrality regulations outlined by the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order.

In December, the FCC voted to repeal the Obama-era rules, which gave the agency authority to regulate Internet service providers (ISPs) as providers of a public communications service, limiting ISPs’ control over Internet users’ access to content. The FCC announced last Thursday that the Restoring Internet Freedom Order rules repealing net neutrality protections will take effect June 11.

Senate Democrats filed a petition last week to force a vote on legislation introduced by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) that would use authority granted by the CRA to overturn the net neutrality repeal. The resolution passed the Senate with support from all Democrats, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AL), and Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA). Now, the House is required to vote on the resolution by the end of the year. In order to successfully nullify the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, the CRA resolution would also need President Trump’s signature. Regardless of how the legislation ultimately fares, The Hill notes that the CRA serves to force legislators to go on the record with their stance on net neutrality.