Above Photo: Tim Carter/Flickr
Note: Senate Republicans are afraid to vote on net neutrality. Why? Because the people are for it and the Senate is protecting the hated broadband industry that rips of consumers, provides lousy service and refuses to provide access to people in poor and rural communities. Our friends at Fight for the Future put out a report about what happened today on the Senate Floor:
Today at noon, Senators Ed Markey, Maria Cantwell, and Ron Wyden rose on the floor of the Senate to formally call for a vote on the Save the Internet Act, the bill to save net neutrality.
But Roger Wicker, Comcast’s favorite senator, teamed up with Mitch McConnell to once again block the vote.
This is a HUGE moment for the Internet. For months, Mitch McConnell and his Big Cable allies have pulled strings behind the scenes to block a vote. But today, with tens of thousands of people watching our livestream, they were forced to publicly explain why they won’t even allow a vote on a policy backed by more than 80% of the country.
Sens. Markey, Cantwell, and Wyden publicly said what we’ve been saying along. Small businesses are having trouble competing in a post-net neutrality Internet. Big Cable is driving traffic to their own entities and throttling speeds to other sites.
Then Sen. Wicker took the floor to call net neutrality an “overblown issue.” He parroted FCC Chair Ajit Pai’s line about how studies show broadband is better than ever—even though we know that those numbers are bogus.
This is the same Sen. Wicker who said he was writing his own “compromise” net neutrality legislation and the same Sen. Wicker who said he started a “working group” with Democrat Kyrsten Sinema to work on that legislation. But really, they are working on writing legislation with enough loopholes to let Big Cable drive a truck through.
So now the American public knows the truth: Sen. Wicker has no intention of trying to protect net neutrality—instead, he’s sticking with the industry that gave him more than $700,000 in campaign cash.
Now that McConnell, Wicker, and their allies have been exposed, we have a plan: first, we’ll turn up the pressure on Senators Wicker and McConnell in the media. And we are flooding their offices with calls, condemning his refusal to allow a vote today.
And if that doesn’t do the job, our allies in the House need to use every tool in the box to get this bill to the Senate floor, including adding net neutrality to the must-pass appropriations bill to fund the federal government if they have to. That will force Mitch McConnell to allow a vote.
But this only works if we keep hammering on the Senate’s door, keeping the pressure on, and demanding a vote.
Net Neutrality Campaign Continues
Net neutrality advocates will mark the one year anniversary of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) repeal going into effect with an all-day live stream tomorrow.
Fight for the Future, an internet rights advocacy group that is hosting the live stream, says comments submitted to them by people “about why a free and open internet matters to them” will be read aloud by small business owners, veterans, gaming streamers, comedians, representatives from other internet advocacy groups, and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.).
They’re calling it their “Epic Livestream.”
The FCC voted to repeal net neutrality rules in 2017, but that repeal went into effect on June 11 last year. The Save the Internet Act, a bill that would restore net neutrality rules, passed in the House of Representatives in April, but has stalled in the Senate where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called it “dead on arrival.”
The hope is that the live stream will show lawmakers that a large number of Americans want the Save the Internet Act to receive a vote.
“It’s not going to happen overnight, but every day that passes without Congress acting to restore net neutrality, the things people love about the internet are slowly fading away. It’s becoming more centralized, exploitative, and controlled by corporate interests,” Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, said in a statement. “But internet users are refusing to give up. On June 11th we’ll come together once again and channel outrage into political power. With voters from across the political spectrum overwhelmingly united in support of an open internet, it’s only a matter of time before net neutrality is restored.”
While the Save the Internet Act passed in the House, it’s less clear how it would fare with a vote in the Senate.
Two weeks ago Rep. Anna Eschoo (D-Calif.), a staunch net neutrality supporter, urged advocates to pressure McConnell to bring the bill up for a vote–predicting that if it was, the Save the Internet Act would pass.
Last year several Republicans broke rank their party and voted in favor of a Congressional Review Act effort to overturn the FCC’s repeal. However, there is no guarantee that those same three Senators—Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine)—would vote for the Save the Internet Act.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) has also not joined the rest of her party colleagues and signed on as a co-sponsor of the Senate version of the bill. Instead, she has formed a working group with Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) to find a “bipartisan solution.” It is a move that has been criticized by net neutrality advocates.