Cantwell Says New Democratic FCC Majority Is Ready to Act on Key Consumer Priorities

September 26, 2023

FCC to announce proposed rule to restore net neutrality protections 

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, said she expects the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), with its new Democratic majority, to take action on key consumer priorities, including restoring net neutrality protections gutted under the Trump Administration.

“With the swearing in of Anna Gomez, the FCC finally has the power to take action on the priorities important to the American people, from delivering on net neutrality and expanding affordable broadband access to strengthening local news,” Sen. Cantwell said. “I’m looking forward to working with the Commission to accomplish an agenda that puts consumers first.”

Ms. Gomez was confirmed by the Senate on September 7 and sworn in as the FCC’s fifth and final commissioner on Monday, September 25, giving Democrats a 3-2 majority for the first time since President Biden took office.

A recent poll by the University of Maryland found that 72 percent of Americans support reinstating net neutrality.

The FCC intends to announce proposed rules that would prevent internet service providers from blocking or throttling consumers’ internet traffic, similar to Obama-era net neutrality rules in 2015. During the Trump Administration in 2017, Republican FCC leadership voted to repeal the 2015 rules.

Sen. Cantwell has been a leading advocate to protect and restore net neutrality rules, along with underscoring how crucial they are for small businesses, the tech industry and health care. Last year, Sen. Cantwell co-sponsored the Net Neutrality and Broadband Justice Act to accurately classify broadband internet access as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act, giving the FCC the appropriate authority to reinstate net neutrality protections. In 2019, Sen. Cantwell co-sponsored the Save the Internet Act with Senate and House Democratic leadership to restore net neutrality protections that were reversed in 2017 during the Trump Administration. In 2018, Sen. Cantwell filed a discharge petition to force a vote on a Congressional Review Act resolution to preserve net neutrality protections, which passed the Senate 52-47. Sen. Cantwell led events throughout Washington state calling for a free and open internet, including at a 2017 town hall in Seattle, a 2018 rally with tech startup companies and a 2018 rally with small businesses.