Misrepresenting the People's Will

Written by Colin J.A. Oldberg, Intern on June 18, 2015

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Industry-friendly pols will stop at nothing to bail out their corporate paymasters, even if it means ignoring the will of the American public.

On Wednesday, every Republican on the House Appropriations Committee (and one Democrat, Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar) voted to block implementation of the FCC's historic net neutrality rules. Those rules, which went into effect last Friday, keep the Internet free and open for all Americans. The Internet is the town square of 21st-century democracy, not a playground for deep-pocketed corporations, and the rules ensure that it will stay that way.

Tucked more than 100 pages into the bill is a rider that hamstrings the agency’s ability to "implement, administer, or enforce" any of those rules until (and this is a big until) pending net neutrality litigation against the FCC is resolved. The rider's language, as Representative Jose Serrano, D-NY, noted, throws the door wide open for corporate lawyers to stall implementation of the FCC's rules, possibly indefinitely.

Serrano said that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit refused last week to delay implementation of the FCC's rules. Decisions on whether the rules should stand should come from the judicial system, Serrano argued; the rider just gave unhappy Republicans a way to circumvent the judicial process.

Common Cause agrees. The FCC’s Open Internet rules reflect the views of more than 4 million Americans who submitted comments to the agency. The Court of Appeals had a chance to intervene but chose not to. It's not Congress’s job to undercut the judicial branch or defy the will of the public, but the committee’s vote does just that.

“The people’s House should represent the people’s will,” said Michael Copps, special adviser to Common Cause and a former FCC commissioner. “The committee majority vote against the Open Internet is totally out of sync with the millions who contacted the FCC to demand – and win – historic online competition and free speech guarantees.”

Americans want the Internet to remain free and open. The Appropriations Committee’s majority has demonstrated just how out of touch it is with the nation.

Tell Congress -- hands off net neutrality!

Office: Common Cause National

Issues: Media and Democracy

Tags: Broadband for All

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