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CONTACT: Free Press
Jenn Ettinger, 202-265-1490 x 35
House Votes to Stop FCC from Enforcing Net Neutrality; Punishes Public Servant
WASHINGTON - February 17 - On Thursday evening, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve a pair of amendments to a massive bill that would slash the federal budget. One amendment, introduced by Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), would prevent the Federal Communications Commission from enforcing rules it enacted in December to protect Internet users from discrimination online.
The other amendment, put forward by Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), would cut off the salary of Mark Lloyd, the agency’s chief diversity officer. Lloyd works in the FCC’s Office of the General Counsel to help the agency expand media opportunities for women, people of color, small businesses and those living in rural areas.
Craig Aaron, managing director of Free Press Action Fund, made the following statement:
“The message from the new House leadership is clear: Unchecked corporate power and rampant discrimination are their priorities. The amendments passed tonight are an outrageous overreach. The anti-Net Neutrality measure would leave Internet users without any recourse if their phone or cable company decided to block their access to Web sites or applications for any reason -- because they don’t like someone’s political views, because they don’t want any real competition or, well, just because.
“Mark Lloyd, a respected civil rights activist and historian, is the victim of a Fox News-fueled conspiracy theory that has no basis in reality. For the House of Representatives to target a public servant for abuse based on the incoherent ranting of Glenn Beck is appalling and absurd. Anyone who believes the media should strive to represent the diversity of this country should be nauseated by this disgraceful attack.
“The Senate and President Obama should reject this bill and these amendments out of hand. We need forward-looking policies and serious policymakers to create jobs, spur innovation and help us compete with the rest of the world. We don’t need cheap political stunts and more giveaways to the biggest and most powerful corporations.”