The Senate passed a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution on Wednesday that, if signed by President Donald Trump, would restore the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) net neutrality regulations.
The Senate passed the CRA, S.J. Res. 52, 52-47, featuring mostly Democratic support, although, Sens. John Kennedy (R-LA), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) also voted for the measure.
Sen. John Thune (R-SD), the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chairman, argued that voting for the Democrats’ CRA resolution would restore regulations that would treat the Internet “as a public monopoly.”
Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) said on the Senate floor before the vote on Wednesday, “Today some in Congress are trying to give the government more control [of the Internet.]”
“We should reject these efforts,” Wicker added.
The Congressional Review Act allows for Congress to repeal an agency rule with only a simple majority in the Senate. Senate Democrats have pushed for a CRA vote in Congress’ upper chamber for months after FCC Chairman Ajit Pai passed the Restoring Internet Freedom Order in December, which repealed the agency’s 2015 net neutrality rules.
The vote comes as the FCC will let the net neutrality rules expire on June 11, reestablishing the Internet as a traditional “information service” compared to the utility-style rules established under Obama’s FCC in 2015.
Net neutrality passed under former Democrat FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in 2015. The rule, known as the Open Internet Order, reclassified the internet as a public monopoly. Critics chided the rule, stating that it would diminish the freedom of the Internet. Proponents argue that the regulations prevent Internet service providers (ISPs) from discriminating against content providers.
Chairman Pai told reporters last Thursday that the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality will not harm consumers and offer Americans a cheaper and faster Internet experience.
“The effect of this will be better, faster, cheaper internet access and the free and open internet that we have had for many, many years,” Pai explained.