If digital rights advocacy group Fight for the Future has its way, net neutrality will be a key election issue in 2018.
Its new campaign, launched Wednesday, escalates the pressure on U.S. lawmakers to defend net neutrality by voting for a "resolution of disapproval" under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to overturn the Federal Communications Commission's recent vote to gut the protections.
"If they don't vote for net neutrality, we won't vote for them. They'll listen, or pay."With the CRA, Congress has the power to overturn newly passed regulations with a simple majority vote—and could thus overrule the GOP-controlled commission's widely opposed move.
The campaign website states: "The FCC just ignored the public and killed net neutrality. But in 2018, Congress will have a simple up or down vote on whether to overturn the FCC or betray 83 percent of American voters, in a close election year. If they don't vote for net neutrality, we won't vote for them. They'll listen, or pay."
It features a scorecard of lawmakers including the 29 senators who have thus far indicated they will vote for a CRA. "51 to win. 22 to go," it reads.
Supporters can sign onto the pledge that states: "Dear Congress: I just gave my number to Fight for the Future, who will text me your voting record in the run-up to the next election. Unless you vote for a CRA to overturn the FCC net neutrality vote, I will not vote for you."
Congress will take a simple up or down vote in 2018 on whether to overturn the FCC’s #NetNeutrality repeal. Sign this pledge to get text alerts about how your lawmakers voted: https://t.co/JwwuES6bGB pic.twitter.com/W5WSv5qb2W— Fight for the Future (@fightfortheftr) January 3, 2018
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To ramp up the pressure, constituents can also use the scorecard to click on their senators and tweet at them directly to say, "just FYI, I will not be voting for anyone who doesn't vote for the CRA to save #NetNeutrality," or, conversely, "I will only be voting for folks (like you) who are voting for the CRA to save #NetNeutrality. Thanks!"
According to Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, "The public has spoken and voters are demanding that their lawmakers do their jobs and defend net neutrality. Any lawmaker that ignores the overwhelming consensus among tech experts and this level of public outcry doesn't deserve to be in office. News outlets keep asking whether net neutrality will be an election issue in 2018. We are going to make it one."
Added Tiffiniy Cheng, co-founder of the group, "Congress has a moral imperative to use their CRA powers to overturn the FCC's rogue action to end the basic principle of the open internet and are supported by the majority of the public. Whoever doesn't will pay at the polls."
Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) last month announced his plan to introduce a CRA to undo the FCC's "historic mistake," saying, "With this CRA, Congress can correct the commission's misguided and partisan decision and keep the internet in the hands of the people, not big corporations."
On Tuesday, he celebrated Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) becoming the 29th senator to join the effort and tweeted "To @realDonaldTrump, @AjitPaiFCC and the broadband CEOs: we're not stopping until we #SaveNetNeutrality!"
We’re up to 29! @SenKamalaHarris just signed on to my effort to reverse the repeal of #NetNeutrality rules! We only need 30 to force a vote on the Senate floor. To @realDonaldTrump, @AjitPaiFCC and the broadband CEOs: we’re not stopping until we #SaveNetNeutrality!— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) January 2, 2018