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Net Neutrality Defenders Ramp Up Pressure on House Lawmakers

Net neutrality backers rally in San Francisco in 2017. (Credo Action / Flickr)(CC-BY 2.0)

Turning up the heat on representatives who have yet to indicate their support for a joint resolution to restore open internet protections repealed by Trump’s FCC, net neutrality advocates on Monday launched a new tool to make sure the lawmakers know “the internet is keeping score.”

The new “scorecard” lets constituents know not only whether their representative backs a petition to force a vote on a measure that would override the FCC’s repeal, but also how much in campaign contributions they have received from big internet service providers (ISPs)  and the number of small businesses in the district that have signed an open letter in support of the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution. It also features a tool to quickly contact representatives.

“Some elected officials are still under the woefully incorrect impression that they can hide from their constituents when it comes to net neutrality, or attempt to fool them by supporting symbolic legislation instead of the CRA,” said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future.

Fight for the Future is part of the trio, along with Demand Progress and Free Press Action Fund, that makes up the tenacious BattleForTheNet.com team, which plans on ramping up its efforts to restore net neutrality through Congress’s August recess.

The groups scored a victory in May after the Senate passed Sen. Ed Markey’s resolution to restore net neutrality. And then the focus centered on the House, where Republican Speaker Paul Ryan’s refusal to bring the resolution to the floor has necessitated a petition to force a vote. A positive sign came just last week, however, when the first House Republican, Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado, added his name to the petition.

Now, Battle for the Net says, “victory [is] increasingly within reach.”

According to its tally, there are now 177 votes in support of net neutrality in the House, making it 41 shy of the 218 votes needed to win in the chamber.  If it passes the House, it then heads to President Donald Trump’s desk.

As Timothy Karr, senior director of strategy for Free Press, recently wrote, Republicans should get behind the measure—”that is, if they care at all about their constituents’ wishes.” He noted:

Poll after poll after poll after poll shows large majorities of Republican voters in opposition to the FCC’s repeal. Any Republican seeking re-election in the fall can’t run from this polling data or from the people back home who demand real net neutrality.

“Any lawmaker who sides with the big ISPs that line their pockets with campaign contributions over the basic internet freedom of their constituents will learn the hard way,” Greer added. “The math isn’t complicated: voters overwhelmingly support net neutrality. We’re going to make sure that every single voter knows if their representative sold them out. There’s nowhere to hide.”

Andrea Germanos / Common Dreams

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