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.
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.