Senate approves bipartisan resolution to restore FCC net neutrality rules

The resolution targets the FCC's vote in December to repeal its net neutrality rules for Internet providers. If successful, the legislative gambit could restore the agency's regulations and hand a victory to tech companies, activists and consumer advocacy groups.

The congressional effort comes less than a month before the rules are officially expected to expire, on June 11. And the high-profile vote could shine a spotlight on lawmakers running for reelection during a tough midterm season.

"The Senate vote, on the eve of midterms, could have significant political effects," said Marc Martin, a telecom lawyer at Perkins Coie in Washington. But, he cautioned, it remains unclear how many voters will actually be motivated by net neutrality to go to the polls.

Senate supporters of the FCC rules put forward the legislation under the Congressional Review Act, a law that permits Congress to revisit - and reject - decisions by administrative agencies within a certain window of their approval. The resolution, or CRA for short, passed with the backing of all 49 Democratic senators and three Republicans: Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, John N. Kennedy of Louisiana and Lisa A. Murkowski of Alaska.

Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), who led the CRA effort, called the vote a victory for democracy and the economy on Wednesday afternoon.

"When we talk about a free and open Internet, we mean it is free from corporate control," said Markey, who called on the House to take up the measure.

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