Democratic Senator of Ohio Sherrod Brown defended the Congressional Democrats legislation that would reverse the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to repeal net neutrality Thursday in a phone conference saying, “it protects free speech and consumer choice and access to public information.”
The legislation comes after the FCC voted along party lines in December to deregulate the broadband industry, which overturned an Obama-era decision that required internet providers to deliver content at the same speed and prevented providers from charging extra for premium speeds.
The mostly partisan resolution aims to prevent the commission from making similar decisions in the future and overturn the December net neutrality vote, Brown said.
At the time of publication, all 49 Democratic senators and Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine endorsed the bill, however, it needs one more vote to pass.
The net neutrality bill is backed by 150 lawmakers in the House, Democratic Representative Mike Doyle, top Democrat in the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology told The Hill.
Time is running out for Democrats who have a 60-day window under the Congressional Review Act to repeal the FCC’s decision, after it was published by the Federal Register on Feb. 22.
Brown said the FCC vote will mostly impact the middle and lower classes.
“Maybe if you’re more well-off, you don’t care about spending more for a faster internet speed,” he said. “But if you’re younger and use it more than the average 50-year-old for summer jobs, school and getting the news, you will pay more.”
Republicans such as Ajit Pai say they want to return the internet to pre-2015 regulations, and to restore the “light-touch regulatory scheme that enabled the internet to develop for and thrive nearly two decades,” according to the FCC’s ruling.
“Entrepreneurs and innovators guided the internet far better than the heavy hand of government ever could have,” said Pai, FCC chairman.
The Ohio congressman blamed the lack of bipartisan support on corporations’ influence within the Republican party, but also recognized the impact of corporations within his own party and times when he sided with and against corporations.
“We need one more brave Republican,” Brown said. “The internet is a vital part of modern life, and no matter who you vote for or what your political views, this shouldn’t be a partisan issue.”