WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) today joined Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA), and 49 of his Senate colleagues in officially filing a discharge petition to force a vote on a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to overturn the Trump Administration’s repeal of Obama-era net neutrality rules to preserve a fair and open Internet. Thirty Senators are needed to send the CRA to the floor for a vote and a simple majority is needed for its passage. All 49 members of the Senate Democratic Caucus support the resolution, along with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME).
The petition filing comes several months after the Federal Communications Commission’s December 2017 decision to repeal the 2015 Open Internet Order, which the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals had upheld in 2016. The Open Internet Order prohibited Internet service providers from blocking, slowing down, or discriminating against content online. The Trump Administration’s move to repeal these net neutrality rules could lead to higher prices for consumers, slower Internet traffic, and blocked websites. A recent poll showed that 83 percent of Americans do not approve of the FCC’s action to repeal net neutrality rules.
“Today, we’re taking an important step toward reversing the Trump Administration’s misguided attempt to limit free and fair Internet access just so big companies have the ability to see greater profits,” said Senator Reed. “This is our best opportunity to stop the Trump Administration from undermining the principles of a free and open Internet, and I am proud to stand with my colleagues on behalf of consumers who require fair, open, and free Internet access.”
Reed has long fought to protect net neutrality protections and has taken multiple actions to prevent the repeal of net neutrality rules. Prior to the FCC’s vote in December, Reed joined his colleagues in sending a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai urging the agency to abandon plans to repeal net neutrality. Last December, Reed hosted an event at the Providence Public Library alongside leading Rhode Island teachers and librarians to discuss how repealing net neutrality could negatively impact Rhode Islanders, consumers, businesses, and democracy and put people who can’t pay for preferential treatment online at a disadvantage.
Reed led a letter last December explaining the harmful impact repealing net neutrality could have on libraries and those who rely on Internet access they provide and has also spoken at length to colleagues on the Senate floor, urging them to join the efforts to push back against the repeal of net neutrality protections.
The CRA must be voted on by the full Senate before June 12, 2018, when, if passed, it would head for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives.