Call to Action: With FCC Vote Condemning Net Neutrality to Death, Congress Holds Last Remaining Hope
Posted on December 28, 2017
As we outlined in our most recent net neutrality piece, in spite of overwhelming public support for current net neutrality rules, and the considerable evidence of the grave harms that would result in their absence, the FCC under Chairman Ajit Pai resolved to reverse the Commission’s net neutrality protections implemented in 2015, and made good on this promise in its vote earlier this month. Pai has vowed to entertain neither the substance nor volume of public comments backing net neutrality, neglected to meaningfully address the public comment submission page’s flooding with bot-generated messages, and refused to the Senate’s request for evidence supporting his claim of a supposed DDoS attack on the FCC site (which just so happened to coincide with John Oliver’s call to viewers to submit comments, which he made on his immensely popular comedy show).
Neither did Pai deign to weigh the nearly unanimous body of internet and technology experts who cite the damage ISPs would wreak on consumer privacy and security without net neutrality requirements to hold them accountable, nor conceded the at best dubious, at worst duplicitous, nature of his debunked arguments alleging the great cost-saving and innovation-catalyzing consumer benefit of his proposal (an argument we dissect in detail here).
Taking all of this into consideration, it is clear that Pai and his like-minded FCC colleagues willingly shirked their responsibilities, as public servants, to defer to the will of the constituency, and instead rammed through their plan to kill net neutrality. Therefore, it is paramount that supporters of a free and open internet band together to push Congress to go over the FCC’s head and mandate, by federal law, that it enforce net neutrality protections.
As CCDBR stands firmly in support of net neutrality, and the bedrock principles of freedom of speech and privacy that it enshrines in the digital realm, we call on our supporters and allies to join the stand for internet freedom. There are a number of steps you can take to do this, but if you are you are short on time or have to channel your efforts most efficiently, we strongly encourage you to to do so in the following way.
Call Your Congressional Representatives
Net neutrality proponents already have the numbers on their side–81% of Democrats and 76% of Republicans are behind it, along with 98.5% of all unique FCC public comment submissions–but Congress has yet to seriously act on behalf of this broad coalition. Since Congress can override the FCC with the stroke of a pen, contacting your representatives in both houses of Congress provides the most effective means of preserving net neutrality, and every phone call underscores the urgency of legislation that much more boldly.
Congress has two avenues open to them: they can either invoke the Congressional Review Act and approve a resolution of disapproval, which would nullify the result of the FCC policy change, or they could adopt a law which affirmatively prescribes that net neutrality be faithfully maintained by ISPs, and that the FCC is to police any violations of this requirement. Both of these would have to overcome a likely presidential veto by a two-thirds majority override vote, but considering how broadly popular net neutrality is across party lines, this is eminently within the realm of possibility, and given enough pressure from constituents, can certainly be accomplished.
The organizers at battleforthenet.com have provided a convenient tool with everything you need to call your representative, from a lookup for your representatives to a script to follow in voicing your concerns.
Alternatively, you can find your senators and representatives from the list below. To ensure the best chance that your stance on this issue is known, we advise you to call your representatives’ Chicago office Friday through Monday, and to call their Washington, DC office Tuesday through Thursday.
Chicago Office: 312-353-4952
Washington Office: 202-224-2152
Chicago Office: 312-886-3506
Washington Office: 202-224-2854
Bobby Rush, 1st District
Chicago Office: 773-779-2400
Washington Office: 202-225-4372
Robin Kelly, 2nd District
Chicago Office: 773-321-2001
Washington Office: 202-225-0773
Daniel Lipinski, 3rd District
Chicago Office: 773-948-6223
Washington Office: 202-225-5701
Luis Gutiérrez, 4th District
Chicago Office: 773-342-0774
Washington Office: 202-225-8203
Michael Quigley, 5th District
Chicago Office: 773-267-5926
Washington Office: 202-225-4061
Danny Davis, 7th District
Chicago Office: 773-533-7520
Washington Office: 202-225-5006
Janice Schakowsky, 9th District
Chicago Office: 773-506-7100
Washington Office: 202-225-2111