NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019

VICTORY! U.S. House of Representatives finally votes to restore net neutrality

Take that, Ajit Pai!

The US House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives today vot­ed to restore Oba­ma-era net neu­tral­i­ty rules, approv­ing a bill that would reverse the Trump-era FCC’s repeal of rules that for­mer­ly pro­hib­it­ed block­ing, throt­tling, and paid pri­or­i­ti­za­tion. The vote was 232–190, with 231 Democ­rats and one Repub­li­can sup­port­ing the bill, and 190 Repub­li­cans vot­ing against it. Four Democ­rats and six Repub­li­cans did not vote.

Mitch McConnell (who has tak­en hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars in con­tri­bu­tions from com­pa­nies like Ver­i­zon, Com­cast, and AT&T) has already declared the leg­is­la­tion “dead on arrival” in the Sen­ate, to the sur­prise of pret­ty much nobody. Even if the Sen­ate were to pass the bill, Trump would veto it.

The soon­est a net neu­tral­i­ty bill could be signed into law is 2021, assum­ing Repub­li­cans lose con­trol of the Sen­ate and the White House.

Still, today’s action by the House is his­toric and sig­nif­i­cant. Repub­li­cans had con­trolled the House going all the way back to Jan­u­ary of 2011 before the begin­ning of this year, and had stymied Inter­net free­dom bills from being con­sid­ered at all. This vote marks the first time the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives (now under Demo­c­ra­t­ic man­age­ment) has tak­en a stand on net neu­tral­i­ty.

“Net neu­tral­i­ty is a bipar­ti­san pri­or­i­ty for the Amer­i­can peo­ple,” said Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi. “As Mr. Chair­man Doyle said, a full eighty-six per­cent oppose the Trump assault on net neu­tral­i­ty, includ­ing eighty-two per­cent of Repub­li­cans, out­side.

“Young peo­ple, in par­tic­u­lar, get it. This is about their jobs and their futures.”

“With the Save The Inter­net Act, Democ­rats are hon­or­ing the will of the Amer­i­can peo­ple. We are restor­ing pro­tec­tions so we can stop unjust dis­crim­i­na­to­ry prac­tices by ISPs — that would be Inter­net Ser­vice Providers — that try to throt­tle con­sumers’ brows­ing speed, block their inter­net access and increase their costs. Throt­tle their speed, block their access, increase their cost.”

“Sup­port­ing this bill means sup­port­ing our democ­ra­cy, ensur­ing that our voic­es – the voic­es of the pub­lic are heard, that their will is respect­ed and that the inter­net remains free and open to all,” Pelosi added.

The roll call from the Pacif­ic North­west was a par­ty line vote, as fol­lows:

Vot­ing Aye: Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Susan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, Den­ny Heck (WA), Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrad­er (OR)

Vot­ing Nay: Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler, Dan New­house, Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers (WA), Greg Walden (OR), Mike Simp­son and Russ Fulcher (ID), Greg Gian­forte (MT), Don Young (AK)

No Democ­rats vot­ed against the bill, although four missed the vote. One Repub­li­can (just one!) coura­geous­ly vot­ed for it: Bill Posey of Flori­da.

Posey has not, as far as we can tell, issued a state­ment explain­ing his vote, although he has offered open mind­ed com­ments in past mes­sages to con­stituents, includ­ing this one shared and dis­cussed on Red­dit.

Posey’s aye makes H.R. 1644 bipar­ti­san leg­is­la­tion (it only takes one!) We con­grat­u­late the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives on pas­sage of this much-need­ed bill, and look for­ward to see­ing it pass again in the next Con­gress when there are hope­ful­ly pro-Net Neu­tral­i­ty majori­ties in both cham­bers.

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