Congressmen Price and Serrano Propose Amendment Restoring Net Neutrality
WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 13, 2018) – On Wednesday, June 13, 2018, Congressman David Price (D-NC) and Congressman José Serrano (D-NY) proposed an amendment to the FY19 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill to restore Net Neutrality protections and prevent the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from unilaterally dismantling a free and open internet. The amendment was voted down 22-29 on a party line vote. On Monday, June 12, the FCC’s Open Internet Order protections officially lapsed, ending Net Neutrality. The U.S. Senate has already voted to overturn the Net Neutrality repeal, but Speaker Paul Ryan has prevented a similar vote in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“The FCC’s decision to eliminate Net Neutrality represents yet another corporate handout by the Trump Administration which will erode the principles of openness, innovation, and fairness that are the cornerstone of the internet,” said Congressman David Price (D-NC), Ranking Member on the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee. “The amendment I offered with Rep. Serrano would have restored internet freedom to protect entrepreneurs, small businesses, students, and the public at large. I am extremely disappointed that my Republican colleagues won’t work with Democrats to ensure a level playing field on the internet, and I call on Speaker Ryan to immediately bring the House CRA to the floor for a vote.”
“With today’s vote against reestablishing net neutrality, Republicans have once again shown whose side they are on – big telecom companies,” said Congressman Serrano (D-NY), Ranking Member on the Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee. “Easy access to the internet is a basic necessity in today’s world. An open and free internet is particularly crucial to small businesses & entrepreneurs, students, and working families – including many of my constituents in the South Bronx who can’t afford to pay extra for premium access to the internet. Access to the internet should be low-cost and accessible to all, but as companies bring prices up and restrict access, it will turn into a luxury. That is something our nation can’t afford.”
“Americans deserve the strong net neutrality protections they had on the internet until this week,” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said. “Congressmen Serrano and Price and their Democratic colleagues on the Appropriations Committee are to be commended for fighting to protect the open internet for consumers and small businesses in their districts. Republicans might say they’re for net neutrality, but until they join us to restore net neutrality by signing our discharge petition they aren’t listening to their constituents.”
“Today’s amendment was an opportunity for Congress to save net neutrality and ensure that our constituents choose what websites and apps they can access online,” said Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee. “It is deeply disappointing that Republicans voted down this amendment and refused to protect the free and open internet.”
In 2015, after several years of legal battles and careful deliberation, the FCC, under the leadership of Chairman Tom Wheeler, issued its revised “Open Internet Order” to enshrine into federal regulation the basic principle of Net Neutrality, that all content traveling over the internet should be treated equally by the owners of networks providing internet service to consumers. In December 2017, under the leadership of Chairman Ajit Pai, the FCC voted to eliminate Net Neutrality, despite receiving millions consumer comments supporting a free and open internet.