These companies have spent many millions of dollars lobbying Congress and the Trump administration. They’ve paid lobbyists to produce and distribute outright lies about Net Neutrality to sow confusion. The ISPs are putting everything they’ve got into destroying the free and open internet.
And yet …
Just last month, the Senate sided with millions of people in the United States and thousands of small businesses and community organizations and voted to overturn the FCC’s repeal of the Net Neutrality protections.
Even in these dark days, sometimes democracy wins.
And while truth and people power won out during the fight in the Senate, at the beginning of the week we were still 46 signatures shy of the 218 we need on a discharge petition that would force a floor vote on a companion bill in the House.
On Tues., June 26, an awesome display of people power flooded our nation’s capital. The ISPs will do everything they can to stem the tide, but the dam is about to burst.
Fifty-five constituents flew into D.C. from all over the country and over the course of one day held 45 meetings with members of Congress and their staff.
The advocacy day, which Public Knowledge organized, kicked off with a pep talk from Rep. Mike Doyle (D–Pennsylvania), the original House sponsor of the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to restore the Net Neutrality rules. Doyle fired up the crowd and explained how critical the day’s meetings would be to get more lawmakers to support the CRA.
Staff from Free Press Action Fund, Demand Progress, Common Cause, Public Knowledge and other groups provided hands-on training and support, instilling the confidence activists needed to walk into congressional offices and demand accountability. After the training, everyone pounded a lot of pavement: dropping into members’ offices, having important conversations and getting results.
In the wake of this remarkable display of democratic engagement the momentum is building. In just the past 48 hours, Reps. Pete Aguilar (D–California), Stephanie Murphy (D–Florida), and Terri Sewell (D–Alabama) responded to constituent pressure and signed on to the discharge petition.
It’s getting harder and harder for members of Congress to side with ISP lawyers, lobbyists and purveyors of misinformation. The message is clear: It’s time to pick a side.
We’ve got until the end of the year to pass the CRA, but this summer represents our best opportunity to push the House to take action. That gives us until Tues., July 23; after that representatives will return home for the August recess and in the fall will be focused on their reelection campaigns.
This Tuesday’s advocacy day kicked off nearly a month of action: of making phone calls, visiting lawmakers’ in-district offices, engaging local businesses in the Net Neutrality fight and writing letters to the editor of local papers to make sure our neighbors understand what’s at stake in the ongoing battle for a free and open internet.
We’re winning. Let’s keep pushing.