Leading Republicans from the House Energy and Commerce Committee today announced their support for a letter signed by 47 House Democrats that asks the House Democratic leadership to establish a bipartisan working group on net neutrality, similar to the effort in the Senate led by Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chairman Roger Wicker (R., Miss.) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D., Ariz.) (TR Daily, March 12).
As reported yesterday, Fight for the Future has said the letter would undermine net neutrality and urged net neutrality supporters to call the offices of House Democrats circulating the letter (TR Daily, May 22).
In their letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D., Md.), and Majority Whip James Clyburn (D., S.C.), the 47 House Democrats said, “[W]e, like you, strongly support net neutrality and the preservation of an Open Internet. We commend you, [House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank] Pallone [D., N.J.], and [communications and technology] Subcommittee Chairman [Mike] Doyle [D., Pa.] for your leadership in championing this issue and for successfully advancing the ‘Save the Internet Act’ through the House.”
They noted that they all voted for the Save the Internet Act “because it represented an opportunity to resolve questions that courts have struggled with for decades. At the same time, we recognize that this legislation is unlikely to become law, or pass through the Senate, in its current form. If that proves true, consumers will be left without enforceable net neutrality protections while partisan conflict continues. We believe this result is unacceptable and unnecessary.”
The Democratic lawmakers continued, “In the spirit of passing bipartisan, bicameral legislation that can be signed into law, we are calling for the establishment of a bipartisan working group, like the Wicker-Sinema effort in the Senate. As the Senate begins its bipartisan negotiations on net neutrality legislation, the House must also begin a process of forging bipartisan consensus. Various models for legislation could achieve our goals of providing strong, enforceable net neutrality protections for consumers.
“We believe a bipartisan working group will allow us to work together to enact strong, enforceable protections that will ensure a truly free and open Internet for all. We hope that we can count on your support,” they added.
Signing the letter were Democratic Reps. Josh Gottheimer (N.J.), Scott Peters (Calif.), Ami Bera (Calif.), Anthony Brown (Md.), Salud Carbajal (Calif.), Anthony Brindisi (N.Y.), Derek Kilmer (Wash.), Tony Cardenas (Calif.), Gil Cisneros (Calif.), J. Luis Correa (Calif.), Henry Cuellar (Texas), Jim Costa (Calif.), Abby Finkenauer (Iowa), Joe Cunningham (S.C.), Bill Foster (Ill.), Lizzie Fletcher (Texas), Vicente Gonzalez (Texas), Alcee Hastings (Fla.), Kendra Horn (Okla.), Steven Horsford (Nev.), Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas), Hank Johnson (Ga.), Susie Lee (Nev.), Ann Kirkpatrick (Ariz.), Ben McAdams (Utah), Daniel Lipinski (Ill.), Tom O’Halleran (Ariz.), Stephanie Murphy (Fla.), Kathleen Rice (N.Y.), Ed Perlmutter (Colo.), Dutch Ruppensberger (Md.), Harley Rouda (Calif.), Veronica Escobar (Texas), Kurt Schrader (Ore.), David Scott (Ga.), Mikie Sherrill (N.J.), Sylvia Garcia (Texas), Dina Titus (Nev.), Norma Torres (Calif.), Xochitl Torres Small (N.M.), Jefferson Van Drew (N.J.), Filemon Vela (Texas), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), Katie Hill (Calif.), Josh Harder (Calif.), TJ Cox (Calif.), and Pete Aguilar (Calif.).
In a joint statement supporting the Democratic members’ call for a bipartisan effort on net neutrality, Commerce Committee ranking member Greg Walden (R., Ore.), communications subcommittee ranking member Bob Latta (R., Ohio), and consumer protection and commerce subcommittee ranking member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.) said, “We have long said that a permanent, bipartisan legislative solution produced in good faith with our Democratic colleagues is the only way to protect consumers, innovation, and an open internet. We welcome our colleagues’ engagement, and hope that a bipartisan working group can be a successful incubator for true bipartisan net neutrality legislation.”
Speaker Pelosi’s office did not respond to a request for comment before TR Daily’s news deadline. —Lynn Stanton, [email protected]
MainStory: FederalNews Congress NetNeutrality
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