Letter issued by House Republican comes as major companies and websites launch massive "Break The Internet" protest 48 hours before FCC’s scheduled vote
House Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO) has issued a letter this morning asking Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai to cancel the agency’s December 14th vote to repeal Title II net neutrality. In the letter Coffman cautions against the "significant unanticipated negative consequences" the agency’s current proposal could have, and urges the FCC "to delay your upcoming vote." The letter comes as major web firms like Mozilla, Reddit, Tumblr, Etsy, and Kickstarter join millions of Internet users in a mass online protest demanding Congress stop the FCC’s vote. See screenshots of the protest here.
While a handful of GOP lawmakers (full list appended below) have publicly raised concerns over the agency’s controversial proposal, today’s letter marks the first time a Republican member of Congress has directly called on Chairman Pai to delay the vote – representing a major shift in the fight over rules that prevent Internet service providers (ISPs) from blocking, throttling, or charging sites and users new fees.
In response, the following statement can be attributed to Evan Greer, Campaign Director for Fight for the Future (pronouns she/her):
We commend Representative Coffman for listening to his constituents and asking Chairman Pai to stop the vote. We agree that the FCC’s should delay voting on their current proposal, and that strong net neutrality rules need to remain in place so that businesses and users remain protected. However, we strongly believe that a legislative solution is a solution in search of a problem. Title II enjoys immense bipartisan support amongst the public and the courts agree it provides a solid legal foundation to prevent anti competitive abuse from ISPs. Now other members of Congress must do the right thing and join Representative Coffman’s call. In recent months more than 800,000 Americans have called their member of Congress and asked them to stop the FCC’s controversial net neutrality repeal, and today they’ve seen indisputable evidence that their pressure is working.
"Net neutrality is not a partisan issue outside of Washington, DC. Voters from across the political spectrum don’t want their cable companies controlling what websites and apps they can use, or where they get their news from. Republican lawmakers like Mike Coffman can see the writing on the wall. Now the rest of Congress needs wake up, because their actions in over the next 48 hours will determine whether they are remembered as the lawmakers who answered their constituents call, or the politicians who let the free and open Internet die. Right now we don’t need Congress to legislate, we need them to do their jobs and rein in the FCC, which appears to be working for big business rather than the public.
While Rep. Coffman is the first GOP lawmaker to publicly request that the FCC stop their vote, six other Republican lawmakers have publicly criticized the agency’s proposal, including:
- Alaska senator Dan Sullivan and Representative Don Young
- Senator Susan Collins (ME)
- Representative Dave Reichert (WA)
- Representative John Curtis (UT)
- Representative Jeff Fortenberry (NB)
The #BreakTheInternet protest will continue through Thursday. See screenshots of how various sites and others are participating here.