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February 27, 2018

King Cosponsors Resolution to Reinstate Protections for Free and Open Internet

Resolution would overrule recent FCC decision to repeal net neutrality

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) cosponsored a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision to repeal net neutrality rules. The resolution would fully restore the 2015 Open Internet Order.

“There is no single tool more important to success in the 21st century economy than the open internet,” said Senator King. “The framework established by net neutrality allows small businesses in Maine and across the country to compete in a global economy, ensures consumers are protected, and helps Americans of all backgrounds pursue educational, economic and social opportunities. The free and open internet is an engine of innovation that plays a vital role in American life, and I’m proud to stand with my Senate colleagues to defend it.”

Senator King is a fierce proponent of protecting the internet as a tool that can be used equally by all. In December, he sent two letters to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, expressing concern about the proposal: one with Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) asking Chairman Pai to cancel the FCC’s vote repealing net neutrality, and another with a group of 38 Senate colleagues urging Chairman Pai to abandon the attempts to repeal net neutrality protections. Also in December, in light of reports that bots filed hundreds of thousands of fraudulent comments to the FCC during the net neutrality policymaking comment process, he urged Chairman Pai to delay the vote until an investigation of the public record could be conducted. In September 2015, he filed an amicus brief with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the FCC’s Open Internet rules. He also wrote a letter to then-FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in advance of the Commission’s net neutrality decision urging the FCC to put in place strong, light-touch protections that ensures the internet remains open and free of discriminatory practices.

The FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order prohibited internet service providers from blocking, slowing down, or discriminating against content online. Repealing these 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’s action to repeal net neutrality rules. Last week, the FCC’s rule repealing net neutrality was published in the Federal Register, leaving 60 legislative days to seek a vote on the Senate floor on the CRA resolutions. The resolution was led by Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and has the support of 50 Senators, including Senator Collins. A companion resolution in the House of Representatives has 150 cosponsors. In order to force a vote on the Senate resolution, Senator Markey will submit a discharge petition, which requires a minimum of 30 Senators’ signatures.

A copy of the CRA resolution can be found HERE.

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