Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Friday that he intends to force a vote on a bill that would preserve Obama-era net neutrality rules, which the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decided to repeal this week.
Democrats want to use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to overturn the FCC’s decision. The CRA gives Congress the ability, with a majority in the House and Senate, to repeal agency rules. Republicans employed the tactic frequently during the first half of the year to roll back rules passed during the last days of the Obama administration.
“One, this CRA doesn’t need the support of the majority leader,” Schumer said during a press conference at WeWork’s headquarters in New York. “We can bring it to the floor and force a vote. So, there will be a vote to repeal the rule that the FCC passed.”
“It’s in our power to do that and that’s the beauty of the CRA rule,” he continued. “Sometimes we don’t like them, when they used it to repeal some of the pro-environmental regulations, but now we can use the CRA to our benefit, and we intend to.”
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) announced on Thursday after the FCC’s vote that he and 19 other senators would be introducing the bill, and Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) has promised companion legislation in the House.
With Republicans in control of both chambers, the bill will have long odds. But net neutrality supporters plan to put the pressure on lawmakers to support the move. And a handful of Republicans, including Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), have come out in opposition to the FCC’s move this week. Still, it’s unclear how many GOP lawmakers, if any, will support the bill.
“Our Republicans colleagues have a choice — be on the right side of history and stand with the American people who support net neutrality, or hold hands with big corporations who only want to increase their profits at the expense of consumers and our economy,” Markey said, applauding Schumer’s announcement.