These are the 11 Representatives and 21 Senators that have stood up to the FCC regarding net neutrality

Posted on Aug 7, 2017 by Caleb Chen

Last week, the FCC received two letters – one signed by 11 members of Congress and another signed by 21 members of Senate. The first letter was titled simply: “In the Matter of Restoring Internet Freedom” and reminds the FCC what Congress’s thoughts on net neutrality are. The second letter calls for a longer comment period. In the first letter, the Representatives explained the need for their comment:

We, as members of Congress who also sit on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, submit these comments out of deep concern that the FCC’s proposal to undo its net neutrality rules fundamentally and profoundly runs counter to the law. As participants either in the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 or in decisions on whether to update the Act, we write to provide our unique insight into the meaning and intent of the law.

Internet users have long commented that the FCC’s current plans to dismantle net neutrality don’t make sense and don’t actually Restore Internet Freedom – quite the opposite in fact. In fact, the same sentiment has been echoed by Mignon Clyburn, Ajit Pai’s fellow FCC member, who noted that May’s vote ended up “Destroying Internet Freedom” not restoring it. The FCC needs to heed the message: that net neutrality is a principle that Congress has mandated the FCC to uphold, not butcher. Specifically, the Representatives point out that the FCC is supposed to treat ISPs (the pipes) differently than Facebook and Google (the things in the pipes). The letter stated:

While the technology has changed, the policies to which we agreed have remained firm the law still directs the FCC to look at the network infrastructure carrying data as distinct from the services that create the data. Using today’s technology that means the law directs the FCC to look at ISP services as distinct from those services that ride over the networks.

These are the very politicians that wrote the laws which defended the open internet – specifically the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The letter also clarified:

…if we had intended network investment to be the sole measure by which the FCC determines policy, we would have specifically written that into the law.

11 House Representatives chastise the FCC for attempting to destroy internet freedom

The 11 Representatives are:

  1. Kathy Castor (D-FL)
  2. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA)
  3. Diana DeGette (D-CO)
  4. Mike Doyle (D-PA)
  5. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-MA)
  6. Doris Matsui (D-CA)
  7. Jerry McNerney (D-CA)
  8. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ)
  9. John Sarbanes (D-MD)
  10. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
  11. Peter Welch (D-VT)

21 Senators ask the FCC for a longer net neutrality comment period

The second letter, written by Senator Markey, was signed by 21 Senators:

  1. Ed Markey (D-MA
  2. Brian Schatz (D-HI)
  3. Ron Wyden (D-OR)
  4. Al Franken (D-MN)
  5. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
  6. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
  7. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
  8. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
  9. Cory Booker (D-NJ)
  10. Tom Udall (D-NM)
  11. Maggie Hassan (D-NH)
  12. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
  13. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
  14. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
  15. Ben Cardin (D-MD)
  16. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
  17. Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
  18. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
  19. Kamala Harris (D-CA)
  20. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV)
  21. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)

This second letter to the FCC asks for the comment period to be extended to 60 days. In 2014, with a 30-day comment period, over 4 million pro-net neutrality comments were submitted. So far in the last few months, thanks to an internet-wide Net Neutrality Day of Action and increased awareness around the country, over 16 million comments have been generated. Whether the 5 person FCC team will heed both the overwhelming public support and Congressional intent – and vote to keep net neutrality rules or destroy them – remains to be seen.

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  1. Xylem

    Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) supports keeping net neutrality rules

    7 years ago
  2. chrisleonard

    Were Republicans invited to sign these letters? Serious question.

    7 years ago
    1. Paul

      I don’t know for certain on these letters, but usually letters like these are openly circulated. And even if not, Republican representatives haven’t written and signed their own letters. Generally Republicans conflate Net Neutrality as anti-consumer regulation (which it’s not).

      7 years ago
      1. chrisleonard

        Thanks. I support Net Neutrality (I even have the official t-shirt from the first Net Neutrality Day), but I find it hard to believe that not one elected federal Republican chose to sign on to this. :: sigh ::

        Whatever the reason, it’s certainly a disappointment.

        7 years ago
        1. Paul

          For some reason this is a partisan issue. It shouldn’t be and I know lots of Republican voters who support net neutrality but I don’t think I’ve seen any Republican representatives support it. If they speak about it, it’s usually against it.

          7 years ago
  3. Varuka Salt

    Apples aren’t Oranges. Nice false equivalency.

    7 years ago
    1. phlypp

      It depends on whether you’re looking at what Republicans call net neutrality, which is the opposite. or real net neutrality where the Internet is controlled as a utility rather than a corporate oligarchy.

      7 years ago
      1. Varuka Salt

        I’ll take door number 2 Monty.

        7 years ago
  4. I'mCallingYouOut

    Thank you, again, Massachusetts.

    7 years ago