FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 1, 2019 Contact: Evan Greer, +1-978-852-6457, email@example.com
Senator Sinema is the only Democrat in Congress who has refused to support the Save the Internet Act to overturn the FCC’s 2017 net neutrality repeal
Digital rights group Fight for the Future has unleashed a giant digital billboard off of I-17 in Phoenix, Arizona, criticizing recently-elected senator Kyrsten Sinema for her failure to support the Save the Internet Act (S.682) to restore net neutrality. Senator Sinema is the only Democratic lawmaker in all of Congress who has failed to support the bill, which recently passed the House of Representatives 232-190 with bipartisan support. Instead, Sinema is helping Big Telecom derail S.682 by creating a disingenuous working group with telecom-backed Senate Commerce committee Chair Roger Wicker (R-MS), who earlier this year suggested net neutrality was not priority for his committee. Experts and advocates believe this “working group” has no intention of creating a bipartisan net neutrality legislation, and is merely a smokescreen attempting to derail the real effort to reverse the FCC’s repeal.
A letter to constituents obtained by Fight or the Future earlier this week shows Senator Sinema parroting cable company talking points to justify her lack of support for the Save the Internet Act. In her letter, the senator writes that “reclassifying broadband providers under laws designed in the 1930s for utilities may have serious unintended consequences.” These comments bear significant resemblance to talking points regularly used by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and top telecom lobbyists at the NCTA.
PHOTOS of the billboard can be found here. It is located on the south side of I-17 east of 7th Street facing west in Phoenix (map).
The billboard prominently displays Senator Sinema’s face and reads: “SINEMA IS CORRUPT: She’s siding with corporate donors to kill net neutrality so you pay more for worse Internet.” It then encourages constituents to learn more at www.SinemaIsCorrupt.com.
“Apparently the only people Senator Sinema cares about are telecom lobbyists,” said Fight for the Future deputy director Evan Greer. “Otherwise, how the heck do you explain her refusal to support the Save the Internet Act? The bill just passed the House 232-190 with bipartisan support. Every other Democrat in the House and Senate supports it. A supermajority of Americans support it. She is the only Democratic lawmaker who has failed to put her name on this bill. Even Senator Kennedy –a Republican from Louisiana–has said he’s willing to put his constituents ahead of companies like Comcast and Verizon. But not Sinema. The only way to explain this is corruption, pure and simple. Sinema has decided she’d rather throw her constituents’ Internet freedom under the bus than anger her Big Cable donors.”
In the build-up to the House vote on the Save the Internet Act, over 6 million people tuned in to Fight for the Future’s livestream of the bill’s procedural debates, amendment debates, and final vote, which generated a groundswell of phone calls and letters to Congress. The Save The Internet Act (S.682) currently awaits its final vote in the Senate, where Senator Sinema’s disingenuous working group is providing cover for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to block the vote.
Fight for the Future is a community of millions of people whose mission is to ensure that the web continues to hold freedom of expression and creativity at its core. We seek to expand the internet’s transformative power for good, to preserve and enhance its capacity to enrich, and empower. We envision a world where everyone can access the internet affordably, free of interference or censorship and with full privacy.
Internet activists, startups, and celebrities have been hosting a marathon livestream driving calls and tweets to legislators
In a historic vote spurred by massive grassroots activism, the US House of Representatives just passed HR 1644, the Save the Internet Act to restore net neutrality. Digital rights group Fight for the Future has been hosting a marathon livestream, featuring cameos from from public interest groups like EFF and Public Knowledge, startups like GitHub, Postmates and Gandi.net, and even celebrities like Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine. The vote was 232-190.
Despite relentless and disingenuous telecom misinformation campaigns attempting to turn net neutrality into a partisan issue, one Republican champion supported the bill on final passage. Rep Bill Posey (R-FL) sided with the vast majority of Republican voters and supported the restoration of net neutrality. Every single Democrat supported the bill, even in the face of massive pressure from telecom lobbyists to vote against it or support weakening amendments.
Between the two committee markups and the floor debate yesterday, more than 5 million people have tuned in to the Twitch stream, where viewers are encouraged to contact their representatives using BattleForTheNet.com
The massive burst of attention once again underscores the overwhelming public support for restoring net neutrality protections, and it should give pause to Republican lawmakers who have largely ignored their base on this issue in favor of spewing telecom talking points. Many commenters in the Twitch chat have self-identified as Republicans in support of net neutrality, expressing disappointment in GOP representatives for their disingenuous opposition to the bill.
“We are charging ahead and getting closer to restoring net neutrality every day,” said Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, “President Trump and Mitch McConnell can say whatever they want, but the writing is on the wall: there is overwhelming public consensus in support of real net neutrality and it’s only a matter of time before we win. The politicians standing in the way of Internet freedom are embarrassing themselves -– they’ll go down in history as incompetent, corrupt, and out of touch. Republican, conservative, and libertarian voters don’t want their cable company to control what websites or apps they can visit or where they can get their news. Misinformation and astroturf campaigns can only do so much –– if I were a GOP staffer I’d be telling my boss to get off this sinking ship before it’s too late.”
The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Save the Internet Act (HR 1644) as soon as Tuesday afternoon. This is THE bill to overrule Ajit Pai and restore net neutrality, and could be the most important vote affecting the future of the Internet this year.
So we’re hosting an epic all day livestream on Twitch, starting at 9:30am, to show our elected officials that the whole Internet is watching.
We hosted similar livestreams for the last two committee votes on the bill, and more than 1 million people tuned in! All that public pressure and attention has been keeping the bill alive, and beat backattempt by Comcast, AT&T, Verizon (and the politicians who shill for them) to gut the bill or fill it with loopholes using bad amendments.
The livestream will be hosted by Fight for the Future’s own Evan Greer, and feature folks from groups like EFF, Public Knowledge, Free Press, Consumers Union, and Open Technology Institute answering questions and explaining the nuances of the bill. Plus video cameos from supportive members of Congress, staff at web companies like Postmates, Gandi.net, and Private Internet Access VPN, and … guitar god Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine.
It’s gonna be a party! Help us send a resounding message that the Internet wants net neutrality restored. Want to be part of the fun? Send us a video of you calling your member of Congress in support of HR 1644 to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll add it to the stream!
Congress is about to vote on net neutrality. We’re hosting an epic all day livestream leading up to the vote, with cameos from supportive reps, groups like EFF and Public Knowledge, web companies like GitHub, Postmates, Private Internet Access, and Gandi.nt, and guitar god Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine. Tune in!
Today the Save the Internet Act (HR 1644) passed a crucial vote in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, despite a wave of disingenuous attempts by telecom funded lawmakers to derail the bill or gut its key protections with bad amendments.
The bill was reported out of the committee largely unscathed, and will now head to the House floor as early as next week. Digital rights group Fight for the Future has been leading an online campaign to ensure the bills passage, rallying hundreds of thousands of Internet users to watch the livestreams of the committee votes and contact their lawmakers ahead of the floor vote.
The following statement can be attributed to Fight for the Future deputy director Evan Greer (pronouns: she/her):
“Telecom lobbyists should just give up now. Despite ISP giants like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T spending hundreds of millions of dollars on lobbying, misinformation campaigns, and buying influence through campaign contributions, they’ve failed to fool the public and efforts to restore net neutrality are moving forward.
It’s embarrassing watching telecom shills in these committee votes attempt to turn this into a partisan issue when it’s actually quite simple: no one wants their cable company to control what they can see and do on the Internet, or manipulate where they get their news, how they listen to music, or what apps they can use.
The overwhelming majority of voters from across the political spectrum want Congress to do their jobs and restore these basic protections that never should have been taken away in the first place. The Save the Internet Act would do exactly that, and any lawmaker who doesn’t want to invoke the wrath of their constituents should vote for its clean passage on the House floor.”
Bolstered by Internet activism and massive public attention, net neutrality supporters on the Energy and Commerce Committee successfully defeated a swath of terrible amendments that would have completely gutted HR 1644. Two amendments did pass, one that simply clarifies the initial intent of the bill, and one that creates a one year exemption from transparency requirements for small ISPs with less than 100,000 subscribers. While such an exemption is unnecessary, given that many small ISPs say they are happy to comply with such requirements, the amendment is closely aligned with the intent of the 2015 Open Internet Order, and does not undermine the core protections within the bill.
Fight for the Future intends to continue organizing Internet users en masse to fight for the restoration of net neutrality and ensure the clean passage of the Save the Internet act.
Unfortunately, telecom lobbyists have been working around the clock to try to derail the bill. Their main strategy right now is to punch it full of holes with bad amendments. So be sure to tell your rep to vote for a clean bill and oppose amendments that weaken it.
The vote is imminent and we can’t afford to lose this one! If we pass the bill through the committee it will likely get a vote on the House floor next week. But if the bill is gutted through hostile amendments, then we’re back to square one.