Reaction to House Net Neutrality Vote

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After the House voted, everyone had an opinion.

“Today, the House voted to restore a free and open internet for the American people.  The Save the Internet Act reinstates net neutrality and protects consumers from internet service providers slowing down, blocking, or charging more for accessing certain sites.  Democrats promised an agenda for the people, and this legislation puts consumers first by ensuring that they control their internet experience, not big corporations, said House Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ). "The American people are rightfully demanding that critical net neutrality protections be restored in law, and I’m hopeful this strong House vote helps build momentum for action in the Senate.” Of possible Senate action, Chairman Pallone said, “I don’t know if they’ll pass this bill, [but] it may very well be a traditional thing where the Senate passes its bill and we go to conference to come up with a consensus … They may differ on how and what it should cover, but they still think we should do it.”

“We all want an open and free internet – a permanent solution to ensure this phenomenon continues to power opportunity and innovation," said House Commerce Committee Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR). "Unfortunately, Democrats refused to work in a bipartisan way to achieve that goal. Their solution is not real net neutrality. Net neutrality does not require a government takeover of the internet. And everyone knows their bill will never become law.” Rep. Walden also called the bill “another plank in [Democrats’] socialist agenda.”

“What my friend [Rep. Walden] calls a takeover of the internet, we call protecting consumers,” said House Communications Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA) who helped shepherd the bill through the House.

"I think the president, as he heads into 2020, when he sees a groundswell, a juggernaut coming at him, I think he’s going to change” his mind on a veto said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). “I do not get the sense the fundamental dynamics have changed,” said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), a top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee. “We're still on the side of net neutrality, they're still not, and they believe they won at the FCC. So they're not interested in establishing a statute. And the only way this is going to change is if we get a new FCC.”

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said, “This legislation is a big-government solution in search of a problem. The Internet is free and open, while faster broadband is being deployed across America. This bill should not and will not become law.”

“Like many others, I would have welcomed a clear, thoughtful, and bipartisan Congressional directive with respect to the FCC’s authority over the Internet. However, H.R. 1644 is not even remotely an intellectually honest or serious effort to create regulatory certainty or legislate net neutrality. It is a political statement built on a broken abomination of an FCC rulemaking. I remain firmly opposed to any attempt to subject the Internet to burdensome and anachronistic public utility regulation, especially any effort to ban paid prioritization," said FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly. "The one positive aspect that emerged from this gamesmanship is House Democrats’ firm declaration against taxing the Internet via USF fees. Levying such fees on this vital and flourishing resource would impede Americans’ digital access, and I am glad there is bipartisan agreement on this key issue.”

The United States has turned the page on the failed broadband policies of the Obama Administration. By getting the government out of the way, Internet speeds are up 40%, the digital divide is closing across rural America, and the U.S. now has the world’s largest deployment of next-generation 5G networks," said FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr. "There’s a lot of common ground on net neutrality. But this bill studiously avoids it. It elevates the partisan politics of Title II over widely-supported rules of the road and would turn back the clock on the progress America is making.”

“I’m glad the House passed the Save the Internet Act today. It protects net neutrality by restoring enforceable rules and reinstating the FCC as the cop on the beat responsible for protecting consumers. The FCC was established to promote and police the communications networks of this country.  Broadband is the communications network of our present and future. The endurance of the open internet cannot be left to chance or the whims of massive profit-maximizing corporations," said FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks. "This administration’s hasty, careless abandonment of the carefully crafted, common sense 2015 Open Internet framework was ill-considered and flat out wrong.  Along the way, the Commission ignored the will of millions of people and proved itself to be out of touch with regular folks across the country, regardless of their politics, who rely on unfettered internet access as a precondition to participation in our society, economy, and democracy.  I support today’s legislation, which returns us to the 2015 framework, and will follow its consideration in the Senate with interest and hope.” 

"Net Neutrality is now one step closer to being reinstated as the law of the land," said Gigi Sohn, a Distinguished Fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy and a Benton Foundation Senior Fellow and Public Advocate. "The Save the Internet Act will ensure that Internet users, not broadband providers, choose winners and losers on the Internet. Just as important, the Act will restore much-needed FCC oversight over the broadband industry." Sohn was Counselor to former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler from November 2013-December 2016 and worked on the 2015 Open Internet Order. She added, "The House, led by Speaker Pelosi, Rep. Frank Pallone and Rep. Mike Doyle, should be commended for its decisive action. While Senate Majority Leader McConnell said yesterday that the bill is 'dead on arrival' in the Senate, the will of the American people will certainly resuscitate it. Last year the Republican Senate passed a similar bill, and those Senators who defy the will of the over 85% of Americans who support reinstatement of the 2015 Open Internet Order risk losing their seats in 2020 and beyond."

Free Press Action President and CEO Craig Aaron said, "Today’s vote is a tremendous victory for the millions of people across the country who’ve been calling, writing, tweeting and visiting their members of Congress to urge them to fight for a free and open internet. The energy behind this bill came from the grassroots, not big companies, but there were plenty of industry lobbyists trying to sink it. The overwhelming show of support for the Save the Internet Act proves how important and popular Net Neutrality has become."

Phillip Berenbroick, Senior Counsel of Public Knowledge, said, "Today’s bipartisan vote by the House of Representatives to pass the Save the Internet Act reflects the overwhelming public consensus that strong net neutrality consumer protections are vital for the internet ecosystem and the digital economy. Millions of Americans have repeatedly told the FCC they want strong net neutrality protections and oversight of broadband providers, and polling consistently shows more than 80 percent of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents support the policies passed by the House today. The Save the Internet Act is consistent with the Congressional Review Act Resolution that passed the Senate in 2018 with bipartisan support. The legislation restores the FCC’s carefully crafted and narrowly tailored 2015 Open Internet Order. That Order prohibited discriminatory, anti-consumer, and anti-competitive conduct by broadband providers, including the three ‘bright line’ net neutrality rules: no blocking of lawful internet content, no throttling, and no paid prioritization. Congressional leaders of both parties support these ‘bright line’ rules, and the Save the Internet Act would enshrine these consumer protections in law and ensure large cable and telecom companies couldn’t lobby the FCC to thwart the will of the public. Additionally, the Save the Internet Act also ensures the FCC has the tools it needs to promote broadband access and affordability so that all Americans can participate in the digital economy, and that broadband users are not subject to discriminatory or unjust or unreasonable behavior by broadband providers. H.R. 1644 ensures the FCC is the ‘cop on the beat’ to protect consumers online, promote competition, and make certain that the FCC can close the digital divide and make broadband accessible and affordable for all.”

“Today's vote shows that support for net neutrality just keeps growing. Congress can no longer ignore the fact that the American people overwhelmingly support these rules and want them back. For years, Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon have tried to outmaneuver public opinion with backroom lobbying and campaign donations. Today's vote is yet another sign that the cable industry's grip on Washington is weakening, and that the American people won't give up until net neutrality is restored as the law of the land," said  Joshua Stager, senior counsel for New America’s Open Technology Institute. "We urge the Senate to listen to the American people and pass the Save the Internet Act.”

"Outside the beltway, net neutrality is a no-brainer issue," said Michael Copps, former FCC commissioner and now special advisor to Common Cause. "An overwhelming majority of Americans support strong net neutrality rules including 80 percent or higher from Republicans and Independents. That’s because they understand net neutrality is the pre-requisite for an open and citizen-friendly internet where broadband has become the essential communications service for a 21st century democracy. Today’s vote reflects the will of the American people who demand an open internet to protect free speech, civic engagement, equal opportunity, and innovation." 

Erin Shields, National Field Organizer for Internet Rights at the Center for Media Justice, said, "The passage of the Save the Internet Act in the House of Representatives is a welcomed step towards restoring the critical rights people of color depend on to remain connected to a free and open internet. There’s too much at stake to turn the internet over to a handful of corporations more concerned with profit than communities. Whether we’re using the internet to shine a light on the social justice issues affecting our lives or starting online businesses to help support ourselves, a free and open Internet is critical to our ability to thrive as Black people and people of color in this country. The battle to save the Internet now shifts to the Senate, where they should vote to restore the protections so many, from all sides of the political spectrum, want and deem necessary. The Center for Media Justice alongside our allies will keep the pressure up in the Senate to ensure people of color are protected online by real Net Neutrality rules."

"Today’s historic vote is a testament to the work of the millions of activists who have refused to surrender on net neutrality. For too many years, the telecom industry has held a tight grip over Washington, using lobbyists and campaign contributions to manipulate policy debates and pad profits. This latest victory in the fight for net neutrality has shown, once again, that this grip can be broken when everyday people organize, show up and demand lawmakers listen," said Demand Progress Communications Director Mark Stanley. "Because of today’s vote, we’re one step closer to preventing concentrated corporate power from stifling free speech and undermining the free market online. We’re closer to ensuring Comcast and Verizon cannot throttle streaming services, block content at will, and shut out startups or kill innovation."

We are pleased that House lawmakers voted to advance H.R. 1644, the Save the Internet Act, a bill that would fully restore the strong net neutrality protections that were enshrined in the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order," said Engine Executive Director Evan Engstrom. "Net neutrality helps preserve the Internet as a level playing field for companies of all sizes, promoting competition and innovation. Startups across the country depend on an open Internet to create, fund, and grow their businesses. Earlier this week, Engine released a letter signed by more than 120 companies is support of the Save the Internet Act. There is widespread support for net neutrality across the startup ecosystem, and we urge the Senate to quickly take up and pass the House bill." Engine is a policy, advocacy, and research organization supporting startups.

CCIA President & CEO Ed Black said, "The U.S. digital economy is the envy of the world and ‘net neutrality’ nondiscrimination rules have helped startups compete with bigger players. Restoring these rules helps thousands of smaller businesses, as well as the next generation of startups, offer their products and services without fear of arbitrary and unnecessary charges from the big ISPs. The Internet connects people with everything from information to job opportunities, so we appreciate the House taking this historic vote to restore nondiscrimination rules.  We urge the Senate to promptly act on this bill."

“Streaming is saving consumers money, and the Save the Internet Act will help save streaming competition," said INCOMPAS President Chip Pickering, whose members include edge providers as well as competitive carriers. "Today’s vote in the House is welcome news to streamers, start-ups, and main street small business owners who have called on Congress to restore strong open internet protections. It is time for Congress to ensure that all four corners of the net neutrality protections are reinstated—no blocking, no throttling, no paid prioritization and strong interconnection. We look forward to building bipartisan consensus in the Senate based on these protections and ensuring that net neutrality is reinstated as the law of the land.”

"Rather than pushing a partisan solution whose efficacy is debated, members of Congress should advance bipartisan net neutrality legislation," said the Internet Innovation Alliance. "Three Republican bills now introduced by House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders offer promising starts, containing the very open internet provisions that Congressional Democrats sought in 2010 and President Obama’s FCC implemented that same year: no blocking, no throttling, no paid prioritization."

"With passage today of the Save the Internet Act, the net neutrality story morphs from a debate about the right set of rules governing internet service in a hyper-connected world to a proxy battle pitting so-called internet freedom advocates against the innovators that invest in, and the consumers who benefit from, our nation’s connectivity," said USTelecom President Jonathan Spalter. "Instead of embracing the power of markets, transparency, and surgical rules, we continue to fight this last war and debate a regulatory regime well past its prime, while important technology policy around data privacy and cybersecurity awaits. So does our shared mission of delivering broadband access to all Americans, be they in urban or rural communities."

“Today’s House vote was a disappointing wrong turn that will only lead to a dead end. Consumers should be frustrated that House Democratic leadership has chosen to pursue a partisan path which will ultimately fail to deliver the net neutrality protections that every stakeholder agrees is important. Despite this setback, our industry remains committed to working on a bipartisan solution and hopes that the end of this political exercise will clear the way for more thoughtful and sincere efforts to protect consumers without outdated and burdensome overregulation," said NCTA – The Internet & Television.


Reaction to House Net Neutrality Vote