AT&T, Comcast and Verizon have been freaking out ever since the Senate passed a Congressional Review Act resolution to restore the open-internet rules. A companion bill in the House now has the support of 177 representatives but needs to get to 218 to move forward.
Here’s where we are with that fight.
What do House reps need to do to support the CRA?
Lawmakers need to sign a discharge petition that would force a full floor vote on the measure. Then they need to vote yes on the CRA when it comes up for a vote.
Is there a deadline to pass the CRA?
We have until early 2019 — when a new Congress is sworn in — to pass this.
But what about this new Net Neutrality bill I've heard of?
Passing the CRA is the best and fastest way to restore the Net Neutrality rules. Rep. Mike Coffman’s bill has no chance of passing this year.
What can I do to get involved in this fight?
House members will be home for their summer recess during the month of August. In the partisan world of D.C. politics, it’s all too easy for reps to ignore the fact that 82 percent of Republicans, 90 percent of Democrats and 85 percent of independents reject the Pai FCC’s decision to dismantle open-internet protections.
But when these lawmakers return home we have a unique opportunity to show them just how worried we are about phone and cable companies having control over what we see, say and do online — especially the risk that they’ll silence people of color, religious minorities and others who often go unheard.
That’s why we at Free Press Action Fund are supporting our more than 1 million members in deepening their activism in August.
There are a lot of ways to get involved in the fight right now, and no matter what you decide to do, you’ll probably have fun doing it. Because lawmakers are in town for the August recess you have the opportunity to show up at events they’re attending — town halls, county fairs, campaign events, etc. — and ask them about Net Neutrality and the CRA. And when you do, take advantage of the powerful video camera in your pocket to capture their answers and broadcast it on social media. You can learn more by checking out this helpful guide.
Another way to reach your rep while they’re back in district is by writing a letter to the editor, or LTE. An LTE is a fantastic way to make sure your member and their staff hear your unique story and come to understand why a free and open internet is so important to their constituents. And yes, we have a guide for that too.
Finally, it’s helpful to simply drop by your rep’s office and encourage them to sign the discharge petition and support the CRA. All throughout July, Free Press Action Fund members visited their lawmakers’ offices and made sure their voices were heard. Let’s make sure the members’ offices are just as busy in August!
But what if my lawmaker supports Rep. Coffman’s Net Neutrality bill?
The day Coffman introduced his legislation, he also signed the discharge petition … which shows that he realizes his bill has zero chance of getting through this Congress.
Even if it did, it would have to go through the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, perhaps the most consistent enemy of the open internet in either chamber of Congress.
Even if Coffman’s bill had a decent shot at making it through the House without Marsha Blackburn and ISP lobbyists ripping it to shreds, it would still have to make it through the Senate, where it would need 60 votes to pass. It’s pie in the sky to think that Coffman’s bill is the solution to the FCC’s wrongheaded repeal of Net Neutrality. And besides, it’s just plain unnecessary.
If your rep wants to support Coffman’s bill, urge them to also sign on to the CRA.
The Senate set the bar back in May and now it’s time for the House to follow suit. To get to the 218 signatures we need to move the CRA forward, we need to convince 41 more House members to take a stand for the open internet.
We can do this. Let’s get to work.