Net Neutrality: Democrats Caving Despite Passing Bill in April

A little more than a month after House Democrats easily passed the Save the Internet Act, as reported—a bill to restore the now-repealed Obama-era net neutrality rules that guarantee that the internet remains fair and open to all content providers—some of those Democrats appear to be having second thoughts.

The day before the bill passed in April, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the new net neutrality bill would be “dead on arrival” in the Senate and indeed, McConnell has simply buried the bill, refusing to even allow the Senate to debate the open internet legislation—despite polling that shows public support for net neutrality at a whopping 80 percent, with Democrats, Republicans and independents all heavily supporting the rules.

“We recognize that this legislation is unlikely to become law, or pass through the Senate, in its current form,” wrote 47 House Democrats, led by Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey and Scott Peters of California, in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top-ranking House Democrats. “If that proves true, consumers will be left without enforceable net neutrality protections while partisan conflict continues. We believe this result is unacceptable and unnecessary.”

During debate on the Save the Internet Act in the House, Republicans attempted to attach a slew of amendments to the bill that would have weakened the FCC’s power to enforce open internet rules, and place restrictions on how far the rules could go. Now, the group of 47 Democrats say they want to compromise with the Republicans in hopes of creating a bill that would have a chance of being allowed to the Senate floor by McConnell—and if passed there, signed into law by Donald Trump.

“The House must begin a process of forging bipartisan consensus,” the Democrats say in the letter. “Various models for legislation could achieve our goals of providing strong, enforceable net neutrality protections for consumers.”

Pelosi has not yet responded publicly to the call for a net neutrality compromise with Republicans, as The Hill reported. Nor have other members of the Democratic leadership.

But Pelosi might just be inclined to hold off on responding, as she waits on the result of a lawsuit against the FCC’s full repeal of the 2015 net neutrality rules last year. That lawsuit brought by a coalition of 23 state attorneys general could receive a ruling in federal court shortly—and if the states win the suit, the repealed net neutrality protection would immediately come back into force.

Photo By Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons


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