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Over 50 major progressive groups urge Democrats to support CRA resolution to restore Net Neutrality

Nation’s largest progressive organizations urge Democrats to support Markey-Doyle resolution and oppose legislation that does not restore, or undermines the effort to restore, strong net neutrality protections

February 14, 2018
Media contact: Pierce Stanley, [email protected], 202.350.0454

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, 55 progressive organizations sent a letter to all Democratic members of Congress, urging them to cosponsor, discharge, and then vote for the Markey-Doyle “resolution of disapproval,” which would overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s recent rollback of Net Neutrality protections. The groups also urged opposition to all other purported Net Neutrality legislation that has been introduced or whose introduction is pending.

“FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s assault on net neutrality is a direct attack on the ability of progressive organizations and activists to communicate and connect. All Democratic members of Congress who value civil rights and economic and social justice must immediately join their colleagues in supporting the CRA resolution to restore net neutrality. Without rules that prevent corporate gatekeepers from blocking and throttling online traffic, the internet will cease to be a platform that empowers and gives voice to marginalized communities and activists,” said Demand Progress Executive Director David Segal.

“We applaud the 140 Democratic members in the House who have co-sponsored Rep. Doyle’s resolution, and all 49 Democratic and Independent senators, as well as Republican Senator Susan Collins, who have supported Senator Markey’s resolution. We urge the remaining Democrats in Congress to protect the free and open internet by cosponsoring, discharging, and then voting for the CRA ‘resolution of disapproval,’ and by opposing legislation that does not restore, or undermines the effort to restore, strong net neutrality protections.”

The letter and signatories can be viewed below.

February 14, 2018

Dear Member of Congress:

We, the undersigned 55 progressive organizations, urge you to cosponsor, discharge, and then vote for the Markey-Doyle “resolution of disapproval” that would overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s recent rollback of Net Neutrality protections. Despite the talk of other legislation emanating from cable and phone company lobbyists, and also curiously coming from Members of Congress that have long opposed Net Neutrality, no other legislation currently introduced or likely to be introduced can restore the rights the FCC’s rollback wrongly took away.

Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress can pass a resolution of disapproval to nullify FCC Chairman Pai’s repeal of Net Neutrality protections — the so-called “Restoring Internet Freedom” Order. Doing so would leave us with the strong Net Neutrality protections adopted in 2015, which were based on the firm and successful legal grounding of Title II of the Communications Act.

Internet freedom activists, grassroots organizers, social justice advocates, labor unions, and progressive organizations like ours oppose Pai’s assault on our ability to communicate and connect. The internet has been a transformative tool for free speech and for organizing in furtherance of civil rights and social and economic justice. A free and open internet enables political dissidents and marginalized communities to make their voices heard on their own terms — without being stifled or warped by corporate gatekeepers such as broadband internet service providers (ISPs).

Strong Net Neutrality rules have overwhelming bipartisan support from the American people. Since the late 1990s, under Republican and Democratic leadership alike, the FCC sought to enforce at least some basic principles preventing ISPs from picking winners and losers on the internet by blocking or discriminating against certain kinds of content or applications. If Congress allows Pai’s plan to take effect, Net Neutrality rules and principles long upheld by both parties would be repealed in their entirety without a replacement — leaving activists, consumers, and businesses without defense against ISP interference.

A resolution of disapproval avoids the pitfalls and present impossibility of negotiating a new Net Neutrality bill. We oppose other current legislative proposals like Rep. Blackburn’s wholly inadequate bill, and Republican leadership has made it abundantly clear that it will not allow a vote on legislation that affords the same protections the FCC previously enforced. Meanwhile, a resolution of disapproval would restore those protections.

Even attempting to negotiate new Net Neutrality legislation in this Congress would be risky, because such a bill invariably would be watered down by ISP lobbying. In the end, any such supposed compromise would fail to safeguard both the openness principles enshrined in the 2015 rules and the other communications rights current law commands the FCC to uphold. Passing a resolution of disapproval instead would be like hitting the “undo” button, restoring the Net Neutrality rules and the legal framework for these nondiscrimination rights.

We urge you and your colleagues to protect the free and open internet and the benefits it provides by cosponsoring, discharging, and then voting for the resolution of disapproval and by opposing other purported Net Neutrality legislation in this Congress that does not and cannot restore internet users rights.

Action Together Network
Alliance for Quality Education
American Civil Liberties Union
American Family Voices
Center for Media Justice
Center for Popular Democracy
Climate Hawks Vote
Color Of Change
Common Cause
Courage Campaign
Daily Kos
Demand Progress
Democracy for America
Fight for the Future
Free Press Action Fund
Friends of the Earth
Future of Music Coalition
Generation Justice
Media Alliance
Media Mobilizing Project
MPower Change
National Hispanic Media Coalition
Native Public Media
NextGen America
Oakland Privacy
Organizing for Action
Our Revolution
Pantsuit Nation
People For the American Way
Presente Action
Progressive Change Campaign Committee
Progressive Congress Action Fund
Protect Our Internet
Public Citizen
Revolving Door Project
The Dream Corps
The Nation
Win Without War
Women In Media & News
Working Families Party
Working Narratives
Writers Guild of America, East
Writers Guild of America, West