Congressional Republican opposition to Pai’s net neutrality rollback mounts

Republican Representatives Coffman, Fortenberry, Curtis, Reichert, Sanford, and Senator Collins have expressed opposition or uneasiness with the FCC’s Thursday vote to end net neutrality protections

With Coffman’s call for delay, pressure is growing on FCC Chairman Pai from his own party to cancel the vote

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 12, 2017
Media contact: Mark Stanley, [email protected], 202.681.7582

This morning, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) became the latest Republican member of congress to express opposition to the FCC vote slated for this Thursday, Dec. 14th, which would rollback crucial net neutrality protections.

In a letter, Coffman opposed the plan from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to end net neutrality protections, and called for a significant delay in the vote.

Last night, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) tweeted that he had urged Chairman Pai to ‘preserve the framework of net neutrality,’ something that Pai’s so-called ‘Restoring Internet Freedom’ order would not do.

Recently, Rep. John Curtis (R-UT) said in a statement, that he ‘support[s] the principles of net neutrality such as no blocking, throttling, or paid prioritization.’ Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) expressed skepticism about Pai’s plan, saying he hopes any action taken by the FCC will not allow for ‘the slowing down, degradation, or blocking of online content by outside groups.’ Pai’s order would rollback protections that prevent internet service providers from slowing down and blocking content. And in a response to a constituent that was posted to a reddit thread about the FCC rulemaking, Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) implied that he opposed the FCC action to rollback net neutrality protections, saying, ‘I don’t think that decision should be made by someone unelected.’

Shortly after Pai’s order was made public, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) was the first Republican in Congress to oppose the plan.

The growing Congressional Republican opposition reflects polling that shows broad support for net neutrality, including among Republican voters and the party’s base, as well as a quickly escalating, widespread backlash against Pai’s plan. On Dec. 7th, over 700 protests were held in all 50 states and in many Republican districts, with tens of thousands attending. In recent weeks, over 850,000 calls have been made to Congress opposing Pai’s order through the site BattleForTheNet.com.

“We commend Rep. Mike Coffman and all the other Republicans who have opposed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to destroy net neutrality,” said Pierce Stanley, technology fellow at Demand Progress. “By opposing Pai’s plan, Republicans are demonstrating that they stand with their constituents, and not Comcast, when it comes to preserving an internet free from censorship and slow lanes. It’s time for all members of congress, Republican and Democrat alike, to join in the call for the FCC to cancel its Thursday vote to repeal net neutrality protections, which would be catastrophic for innovation and free expression.”

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