Net Neutrality Revival Gets Shot in the Arm From GOP House Rep

In May, after Senate Democrats f****d a vote on restoring net neutrality rules wiped out by a December FCC vote—and the vote passed the Senate 52-47 with three Republicans joining all 49 Democrats—the bill went to the House, where it appeared to die a quick death, with Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan showing no interest in even allowing debate on the net neutrality issue.

In response, House Democrats took up their own petition, which, under congressional rules, would compel Ryan to allow a debate and vote on bringing back the open internet protections, which expired June 11, thanks to the party-line 3-2 vote of the FCC board.

But no Republicans would sign the petition—until now. According to a report by Wired magazine, Republican Mike Coffman, a fifth-term rep from Colorado, has affixed his signature to the petition, joining the 176 Democrats who have signed so far.

If 218 reps sign the petition by January, the House will take a vote on restoring the Obama-era net neutrality protections, which guaranteed that big telecom companies, who provide most Americans with access to the internet, must treat all traffic equally—rather that charging premium prices for fast data and leaving everyone who can’t or won’t pay struggling with snail’s-pace upload and download speeds, or no access at all.

There are 193 Democrats in the House, meaning that the petition will likely need 17 more Democrats and 24 more Republicans to f***e Ryan to bring the net neutrality issue to the House floor. In December, Coffman was the first Republican to call on FCC Chair Ajit Pai, a Donald Trump appointee, to delay the vote on repealing the rules, according to a report by The Verge.

Though Coffman now backs the Democratic net neutrality petition, he has also introduced his own net neutrality bill, The 21st Century Internet Act, which wold also restore at least the core features of the now-abolished net neutrality rules.

Under Coffman’s bill, internet service providers would be banned from slowing traffic from certain sites, or charging extra to allow high-speed access for others.

A poll taken in April showed that 86 percent of the American public opposed getting rid of net neutrality rules—and that figure included 82 percent of Republicans.

As reported earlier this month, Trump’s nominee to fill the U.S. Supreme Court seat being vacated by retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, Brett Kavanaugh, has written of his opposition to net neutrality rules, saying that they v*****e the free speech rights of large telecom corporations.

Photo via United States Congress / Wikimeda Commons (Public Domain)

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