With eye on midterms, coalition of influential advocacy groups challenges Congressional candidates to take a firm position on immediately restoring net neutrality

National groups ACLU, CREDO Action, Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, and Free Press Action Fund—which have a combined eight million members—are submitting a single-question questionnaire to Congressional incumbents and their challengers to gauge support for the discharge petition to force a vote on the net neutrality CRA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 16, 2018
Contact: Mark Stanley, Demand Progress, 202.681.7582, [email protected]

Today, national advocacy groups ACLU, CREDO Action, Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, and Free Press Action Fund are submitting a single-question questionnaire to 38 representatives and their challengers in the upcoming midterms.

The questionnaire poses the following to incumbents and challengers, with a request for responses by September 4, 2018:

For incumbents: Have you signed, or do you firmly commit within the next 30 calendar days to sign, the discharge petition for the House net neutrality CRA, and will you vote in favor of the net neutrality CRA if it comes up for a vote?

For challengers: If you were a current member of the House of Representatives, would you have signed the discharge petition for the House net neutrality CRA, and would you vote in favor of the net neutrality CRA if it came up for a vote?

Districts in which incumbents and challengers are receiving the questionnaire are: IA-1, IL-12, VA-7, PA-8, VA-10, TX-7, FL-26, CA-10, FL-25, NY-11, NY-19, PA-1, NJ-5, GA-06, AR-2, TX-23, NY-24, CA-25, NJ-7, MN-2, UT-04, FL-18, CA-04, AZ-02, AZ-1, MN-3, ME-02, NY-23, CA-48, IL-6, PA-17, PA-16, NY-21, NY-22, CA-21, CA-45, KS-03, NY-01

All of the representatives and challengers receiving the questionnaire are running in competitive districts where net neutrality will be an important issue for voters and where the current member of Congress has not yet signed the discharge petition to bring a vote on the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to restore net neutrality. The CRA passed the Senate in May with bipartisan support, and the CRA discharge has been signed by 177 members in the House, including Republican Representative Mike Coffman. The CRA needs the support of a simple majority, or 218 members to pass the House. It would immediately restore the net neutrality protections repealed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Support for restoring net neutrality is extremely strong across party lines. A poll conducted by the University of Maryland in April found that 86% of voters opposed the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality, including overwhelming majorities of Republicans, Independents and Democrats.

A more recent poll conducted by IMGE Insights—which specifically focused on voters in House battleground districts—found that 58% of undecided voters would be more likely to vote for their current Congressperson if they took action to overturn the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality. Meanwhile, only 8% said such an action would make them less likely to vote for that member. 56% of undecided voters said net neutrality would be an important factor in determining who they vote for.

The FCC’s repeal of net neutrality protections has opened the door for internet providers to slow and block traffic online, and to charge sites and apps new fees to reach users. The impact on free expression and local businesses, which rely on an open internet to compete and reach customers, will be devastating unless Congress acts to reverse the FCC’s repeal by signing the discharge petition and passing the CRA.

“Net neutrality has massive support among the public, regardless of political affiliation, and it will be a major consideration for voters in this year’s midterms,” said Demand Progress Executive Director David Segal. “Incumbents who decline to sign the discharge will be actively siding with extremely unpopular telecom giants like Comcast and AT&T over their constituents and small businesses — a particularly dangerous political move for members facing competitive races.”

“In these divisive times, one issue an overwhelming number of Americans agree upon is that all persons should have the ability to communicate and access information freely regardless of their political perspective or economic power. Free speech, online and elsewhere, is nothing but an empty promise unless it is vigorously defended. That is why 86% of Americans want net neutrality restored immediately and are prepared to take to the voting booth to make it happen,” said Chad Marlow, ACLU Senior Advocacy & Policy Counsel.

“This is not complicated. Net neutrality is basically the only issue that Republican and Democratic voters wholeheartedly agree on. Any lawmaker who fails to do their job and sign the discharge petition is exposing themselves as a puppet of Big Cable,” said Sarah Roth-Gaudette, Executive Director of Fight for the Future. “How to lose your election in one easy step: vote against net neutrality.”

“It’s becoming increasingly difficult for members of Congress to hide their opposition to a free and open internet from their constituents, especially given public polling that shows vast majorities of Republicans and Democrats alike favor restoring the Net Neutrality protections,” said Free Press Action Fund Campaign Manager Adam Maxwell. “This questionnaire will put key House members on the record before November, letting their constituents know once and for all whether their elected officials are standing with the people in defense of an open internet or with Big Cable against it.”

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