Press Release

January 9, 2018
Net Neutrality Resolution Reaches 40-Vote Milestone in the Senate
Momentum grows for grassroots effort to ensure a free and open internet by passing a Congressional Review Act resolution to overturn President Trump and FCC Chairman Pai's anti-consumer regulation

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) is among 40 senators who have signed on to co-sponsor a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution of disapproval that overturns the anti-consumer regulations passed in December by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and supported by Donald Trump to end net neutrality. He joins Senators Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and others who have made clear they will “force a vote” on the resolution to restore the 2015 Open Internet Order.  Thirty (30) members are needed to send the CRA to the floor for a vote and a simple majority is needed for its passage.

“The FCC’s decision to roll back net neutrality was a transparent bow to corporate interests and a dangerous step toward suppressing the free flow of information online,” said Senator Cardin. “With this level of support in the Senate, we now have a chance to overturn that ruling and restore the prospect of a free and open internet, unmarred by the blocking or throttling of content.”

Last month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to repeal the 2015 Open Internet Order, which the D.C. Circuit Court 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 83 percent of Americans do not approve of the FCC action to repeal net neutrality rules.

Senators co-sponsoring the CRA resolution include Cardin, Markey, Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii.), Richard Blumenthal (D–Conn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sherrod Brown (D-O.H.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Angus King (I-Maine) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.).

Senator Chris Van Hollen

“Maintaining a free and open internet is crucial for our democracy and our economy, and I was deeply disappointed by the FCC’s decision to undermine net neutrality protections. Net neutrality creates a level playing field for all companies to compete and guarantees an internet for all Americans, not just those who can afford to pay more. This move will stifle competition and put large corporate interests ahead of innovators, small businesses, and American consumers. I’m proud to join my colleagues in standing for consumers’ rights, and I urge the Senate to act on this issue immediately.”

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer

“Eliminating neutrality and a fair and open internet undermines entrepreneurialism and crowds out the creativity that has been the engine of extraordinary innovation and an engine of economic growth. Millennials were born into a world with the free and open internet and it’s as integral to their daily lives as a morning cup of coffee. So when the administration rips it from their hands and hands it over to the big Internet Service Providers on a silver platter, millennials will know that Republicans were responsible – and can you can bet Democrats will make sure they know it.”

Senator Ed Markey

“Last month, the FCC turned a deaf ear to millions of Americans standing up for a free and open internet and instead gutted net neutrality,” said Markey. “The anti-consumer regulations passed by the Trump administration takes away a fundamental right that ensures the internet is a diverse, dynamic and open to everyone. We can force a vote to restore net neutrality and level the playing field away from the big corporations. There will be a political price to pay for those on the wrong side of history. Momentum is on our side.”

Senator Bill Nelson

“Ajit Pai turned his back on consumers by pushing a plan to give internet providers the ability to decide what websites their customers see, how fast they see them, and how much they are going to have to pay for access. It’s time for the Senate to end this all-out assault on consumers by reversing the FCC decision to roll back net neutrality protections.”

Senator Ron Wyden

“Net neutrality means companies like Comcast can’t dictate where you go or what you do online. This resolution will restore real net neutrality,” Wyden said. “Change doesn’t start in Washington, it starts at the grassroots. My constituents in Oregon are standing up and demanding the senate preserve these rules.”

Senator Maria Cantwell

“Over the last several years, the biggest job growth that we have seen in America has come from internet businesses. We are seeing an attack on that internet economy by FCC rolling back this open internet rule,” said Senator Cantwell. “We cannot allow the FCC to put a chokehold on the internet by allowing big corporations to artificially charge consumers more. The open internet rule was here for a reason. It was to protect a level playing field and to make sure no one artificially created opportunity and access by controlling the internet.”

Senator Klobuchar

“The misguided decision by the Federal Communications Commission to eliminate net neutrality rules threatens to harm the way we communicate with each other, how companies do business, how consumers buy goods and even how we educate our kids. But, the fight is not over. Congress can still take action and I’ll continue to fight alongside so many of my colleagues to make sure this gets a vote on the floor.”

Senator Brian Schatz

“Every member of Congress is going to say they support an open internet, but now it’s time to put up or shut up.”

Senator Richard Blumenthal

“The FCC has proven itself a puppet of special interests. There is nothing more anti-democratic or un-American than strangling freedom of communication. That’s what the FCC has done. And by running roughshod over established rules, the FCC has shown contempt for the rule of law- also fundamentally anti-democratic and un-American. The FCC’s action is doomed to fail, both in Congress and in the courts.”

Senator Tammy Duckworth

“The decision by President Trump and Chairman Pai to repeal net neutrality last month put the future of the internet – and our economy – in jeopardy,” said Duckworth. “Net neutrality ensures every American has access to a level playing field online, which enables our small businesses to stay competitive and protects startups from being crushed by big corporations before they even have the chance to get off the ground. I’m proud to join my colleagues in pushing back against the Administration’s efforts to end net neutrality and I won’t back down until we stop the FCC’s repeal of this rule once and for all.”

Senator Patrick Leahy

“By repealing strong Net Neutrality rules, the FCC enthusiastically endorsed a pay-to-play internet. Small businesses and consumers in rural areas like Vermont stand to lose the most in this new online order.  I’m proud to join Senator Markey in fighting to reinstate net neutrality rules and I look forward to pressing for approval of this resolution.”

Senator Debbie Stabenow

“The FCC decision to overturn net neutrality last month was terrible for all Americans who want equal access to a free and open internet.  Today I’m joining Senator Markey and other colleagues in urging the Senate to vote immediately to reverse this decision and protect the internet.”  

Senator Claire McCaskill

“What I’ve heard from the thousands of Missourians who’ve contacted my office is simple—consumers should have protected, free, and open access to the online content of their choosing,” McCaskill said. “The best way to ensure that access isn’t to eliminate those consumer protections in one fell swoop, but reach a bipartisan agreement that’ll finally give certainty to consumers and providers alike. Until Congress does that, this bill will simply revert to the previous consumer protections that have been upheld by the courts.”

Senator Tom Udall

“I am pleased to announce my support for this resolution to reinstate the open internet. Allowing providers to throw up toll lanes or charge higher prices will deepen the digital divide, hurting small business owners and low-income and working families in New Mexico, many of whom are already stuck in the internet slow lane,” said Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.). “When it comes to internet policy, the FCC should be working to expand broadband access — not destroying the essential protections that keep the internet free and open.”

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

“The decision by the FCC to give the biggest corporations much more control over what people see on the Internet was shameful,” said Senator Gillibrand. “We must protect consumers from the biggest service providers who could decide which sites are fast and which sites are slow with little oversight. This is an attack on free speech, it’s a disturbing example of the corrupt relationship between corporations and the government, and I urge all of my colleagues to join this resolution and overturn this vote by the FCC.”

Senator Sherrod Brown

“Internet providers should not be able to slow down your internet access or charge you more based on the shows you watch, the teams you cheer for or your political views.”

Senator Time Kaine

“Americans deserve a free and open internet. I’m proud to be a part of this resolution to overturn the Trump Administration’s decision that lets internet service providers control content and speed on the web based on how much they get paid.”

Senator Michael Bennet

“Nearly 25,000 Coloradans have contacted our office on net neutrality. The consensus could not be clearer: We must protect a free and open Internet.”

Senator Mazie Hirono

“Access to a free and open internet is essential in today’s economy and society, and I’m proud to support Sen. Markey’s resolution. Nearly 90 percent of Hawaii residents—particularly younger generations—are online, and we owe them the fair playing field that an open internet provides so they can innovate and create new jobs, industries, and opportunities.”

Senator Martin Heinrich

“As a staunch supporter of net neutrality, I was appalled that the FCC chose to ignore the comments of millions of Americans, including many from New Mexico, who want to keep these protections in place. This is another example of the Trump administration ignoring the will of the American people and doing away with commonsense protections. This decision will be challenged in court, Congress and by voters.  I’m proud to join this effort to correct the Commission’s misguided and partisan decision and fight for rules that ensure free speech, protect consumers, and preserve competition.”

Senator Cory Booker

“The FCC’s vote to gut net neutrality protections was a massive blow to the fundamental ideals of a free and open internet for all,” Booker said. “Congress shouldn’t stand passively by while innovation is stifled and the democratizing power of the internet is dismantled because of this arbitrary policy change. That’s why I’ve signed on to Senator Markey’s effort to restore net neutrality, and will continue fighting to protect small businesses, consumers, and many, many others from the hazards of an internet where content is throttled, blocked, or given unequal preference.”

Senator Gary Peters

“Consumers, small businesses and startups rely on a free and open internet to connect with the worldThe FCC decision to scrap net neutrality protections disadvantages Michigan entrepreneurs and families by limiting their access to content on the internet. With this resolution, we will seek to ensure the internet is fair and free and works for hard-working Americans and their businesses.”

Senator Cortez Masto

“Chairman Pai’s reckless decision destroys the principle of a truly free and open internet. This decision allows internet service providers to charge more for their broadband plans and threatens the reliable internet access of schools, first responders, hospitals, and rural communities. Senator Markey’s CRA is crucial to overturning this irresponsible decision made without public hearings and adequate consumer protections for all of us who depend on access to quality broadband.”

Senator Maggie Hassan

“The momentum to protect net neutrality is growing, and we will not stop fighting until we reverse the FCC’s rollback of critical net neutrality protections, a rollback which hurts the American people, our innovative small businesses, and our economy. I will keep working to advance priorities that put the interests of consumers first, that help our small businesses thrive, and that support a free and open internet.”

Senator Kamala Harris

“The FCC wants to empower internet service provides to distort the online marketplace and set up a pay-for-play system. We need to protect and expand internet access so that everyone in America — regardless of how much money they make or where they live — has equal access to the internet.”