Public interest coalition opposes so-called net neutrality “working group”

Over 30 groups sent a letter to House leadership today opposing a potential proposal from some lawmakers for a “working group” that would abandon the recently-passed Save the Internet Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 22, 2019
Contact: Mark Stanley, [email protected], 202.681.7582

Today, 32 public interest groups sent a letter to House Democratic leadership strongly opposing the establishment of a “working group” that would undermine efforts to pass the Save the Internet Act (HR 1644).

The Save the Internet Act to restore net neutrality—which the letter notes “contains baseline protections necessary to ensure critical safeguards for free expression, civil rights, small businesses, and rural broadband access”—passed the House last month and enjoys overwhelming public support.

The public interest letter, which can be read in its entirety below, states:

“It has come to our attention that a letter is circulating signed by representatives that calls for a working group on net neutrality—modeled on the Wicker-Sinema effort in the Senate—that would abandon the Save the Internet Act. This is extremely troubling, and an affront to the millions of Americans from across the political spectrum who rely on an open internet and have called on Congress to support strong net neutrality.”

The letter in circulation calling for a “working group” has been reported by The Daily Dot. Advocates are urging any members that have signed the letter to remove their names.

Along with restating strong support for the Save the Internet Act, which is the most viable legislative means to restore crucial open internet protections this Congress, the letter expresses unequivocal opposition to the establishment of the working group:

“With litigation to overturn the FCC’s net neutrality repeal currently pending, and with immense public support behind the Save the Internet Act, now is the exact wrong time to push for alternatives to the bill passed just last month. The Save the Internet Act is a common-sense bill with overwhelming bipartisan public support, and these attempts to undermine it by establishing a working group to advance disingenuous legislative efforts are strongly opposed by our organizations.”

Read the full letter, including a complete list of signers, at this link, or below:

https://s3.amazonaws.com/demandprogress/images/Public_interest_letter_opposing_House_working_group_3.pdf

 

May 22, 2019

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House
H-232, U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Steny H. Hoyer
Majority Leader
H-107, U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable James E. Clyburn
Majority Whip
H-329, U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

 

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader Hoyer and Whip Clyburn,

The undersigned groups strongly support the Save the Internet Act (H.R. 1644), which recently passed the House on a bipartisan vote with the full support of your caucus. We are grateful for your leadership as the bill moves to the Senate, which passed a similar measure last year with bipartisan support.

It has come to our attention that a letter is circulating signed by representatives that calls for a working group on net neutrality—modeled on the Wicker-Sinema effort in the Senate—that would abandon the Save the Internet Act. This is extremely troubling, and an affront to the millions of Americans from across the political spectrum who rely on an open internet and have called on Congress to support strong net neutrality.

The Save the Internet Act is very much a bipartisan solution, firmly aligned with calls from a vast majority of the public to restore net neutrality. The bill contains baseline protections necessary to ensure critical safeguards for free expression, civil rights, small businesses, and rural broadband access. It fulfills the mandate Congress gave the FCC in 1996 to prevent discrimination on telecommunications networks, including broadband internet access. Outside Washington, it has overwhelming bipartisan support.

The Wicker-Sinema group—which the letter inaccurately holds up as a model for developing consensus on this issue—is led by two Senators who have declined to support the common-sense protections contained in the Save the Internet Act. In fact, Senator Sinema is the lone Democrat in Congress who has failed to endorse the Save the Internet Act, which would restore broad FCC oversight of broadband providers to protect people and businesses that rely on the open internet.

Broad FCC authority under Title II of the Communications Act is critical to ensure net neutrality and to protect all internet users from unjust, unreasonable, discriminatory, and monopoly behavior by broadband providers. Critically, the Save the Internet Act also empowers the FCC to advance policy priorities with near-universal support, including promoting broadband deployment and universal service; affordable and equitable access to broadband for all; privacy protections for consumers; and resilient broadband networks that withstand natural disasters and are restored quickly after outages.

Efforts by some Members to undermine the House’s historic passage of the Save the Internet Act are counterproductive to your Caucus’ priority of restoring strong net neutrality consumer protections. The Wicker-Sinema group and similar efforts are not a path to viable legislation, but rather a means to undermine the bill the House just passed, and the strong but flexible net neutrality framework it restores.

With litigation to overturn the FCC’s net neutrality repeal currently pending, and with immense public support behind the Save the Internet Act, now is the exact wrong time to push for alternatives to the bill passed just last month. The Save the Internet Act is a common-sense bill with overwhelming bipartisan public support, and these attempts to undermine it by establishing a working group to advance disingenuous legislative efforts are strongly opposed by our organizations.

Sincerely,

  • 18MillionRising.org
  • American Library Association
  • California Clean Money Campaign
  • Center for Media Justice
  • Color of Change
  • Common Cause
  • Courage Campaign
  • Demand Progress
  • Democracy for America
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Faithful Internet
  • Fight for the Future
  • Free Press Action
  • Future of Music Coalition
  • Greenpeace US
  • Just Foreign Policy
  • National Consumer Law Center, on behalf of its low-income clients
  • Native Public Media
  • New America’s Open Technology Institute
  • OpenMedia
  • People For the American Way
  • Popular Resistance
  • Public Citizen
  • Public Knowledge
  • Presente.org
  • Progress America
  • Revolving Door Project
  • RootsAction.org
  • Social Security Works
  • SumOfUs
  • United Church of Christ, OC Inc.
  • Writers Guild of America West

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