Senator Susan Collins Says She’ll Vote to Reinstate Net Neutrality Rules

Support is growing.

Support is growing for the Senate bill that would reverse the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision to repeal net neutrality after Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) said she’ll support the new legislation. The FCC voted in December to reverse Obama-era rules that barred internet service providers from blocking or throttling traffic, or offering paid fast lanes. In response, several state attorneys general vowed to sue.

Collins announced through a spokeswoman, Annie Clark, that she would join the opposition to the deregulation of internet service providers. “She believes that a careful, deliberative process involving experts and the public is warranted to ensure that consumers have strong protections that guarantee consumer choice, free markets and continued growth,” Clark said.

Joining Collins is fellow Maine Senator Angus King, who issued a prepared statement of his own: “The FCC’s recent action to repeal net neutrality threatens to undermine its positive impact by stifling innovation and putting access and connection speeds for sale to the highest bidder,” said King. “It is crucial we defend net neutrality and I will work to ensure that this misguided repeal is never implemented.”

The legislation, being pushed by Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), a longtime consumer advocate on technology issues. would use Congress’s authority under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to reverse the FCC’s rollback.

The CRA empowers Congress to review, by means of an expedited legislative process, new federal regulations issued by government agencies and, by the passage of a joint resolution, to overrule a regulation. The CRA also prohibits the reissuing of the rule in substantially the same form or the issuing of a new rule that is substantially the same “unless the reissued or new rule is specifically authorized by a law enacted after the date of the joint resolution disapproving the original rule” once a rule is repealed.

After Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) announced her support for the bill on Twitter, becoming its 30th co-sponsor, Markey’s legislation fulfilled a procedural requirement to bypass committee approval.

“We’ve reached the magic number of 30 to secure a vote on the Senate floor, and that number will only continue to climb,” Markey said in a statement yesterday, shortly after McCaskill signaled she’d support the measure. “Republicans are faced with a choice — be on the right side of history and stand with the American people who support a free and open internet, or hold hands with the special interests who want to control the internet for their own profit.”

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