Hundreds of congressional lawmakers still have not signed on to Democrats' bill to restore net neutrality, and open internet advocates are putting them on notice.
With a new "scoreboard" detailing where members of Congress stand on net neutrality and how much money they have received from the telecom industry, a coalition of digital rights groups on Tuesday launched a campaign aimed at pressuring lawmakers to co-sponsor the Save the Internet Act before the end of the week.
"It is unreal that there is any member of Congress who is still on the wrong side of this issue. The Save the Internet Act is exactly the right way to safeguard net neutrality."
—Candace Clement, Free Press Action Fund
"Enough is enough. There are absolutely no excuses for not supporting this bill," Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, said in a statement. "Voters from across the political spectrum are pissed off and have made it very clear that they want strong net neutrality rules back in place as soon as possible."
Greer went on to warn that lawmakers who fail to back the Save the Internet Act will face backlash from the American people, who overwhelmingly support strong net neutrality protections.
"If you choose to put the telecom giants ahead of your constituents, we will make sure that every single one of your constituents knows you sold them out for cable money," Greer said. "You have until close of business on Friday, March 15th."
Reasons for lawmakers to not sign on to the #SaveTheNet act:
1) They don't want to piss off their big cable donors
2) They don't want to piss off their big cable donors
3) They don't want to piss off their big cable donorshttps://t.co/kBHKy7YpPv
— Fight for the Future (@fightfortheftr) March 12, 2019
By Fight for the Future's count, more than 300 members of the House and over 50 senators have yet to co-sponsor the Save the Internet Act.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) is the only member of the Senate Democratic caucus who has not backed the legislation. As a result, she is the target of a crowdfunded billboard that accuses her of "siding with corporate donors to kill net neutrality."
If lawmakers don't back the Save the Internet Act by Friday—the final day before congressional recess—net neutrality campaigners nationwide plan to "unleash a flood of calls, emails, and tweets from their district."
Demand Progress @fightfortheftr & @freepressaction are launching an updated congressional scoreboard on #NetNeutrality & setting March 15th as the deadline for lawmakers to cosponsor the #SaveTheNet Act before unleashing calls & emails from their districts https://t.co/b40TLaWH6S
— Demand Progress (@demandprogress) March 12, 2019
"It is unreal that there is any member of Congress who is still on the wrong side of this issue," said Free Press Action Fund campaign director Candace Clement. "The Save the Internet Act is exactly the right way to safeguard net neutrality. It draws on the overwhelming bipartisan support for real net neutrality, including support among vast majorities of Republican, Democratic, and independent voters."
The scoreboard and pressure campaign come as the House Communications and Technology subcommittee held the first hearing on the Save the Internet Act, which net neutrality proponents hailed as "one of the few pieces of congressional legislation that actually does what it says in the title."
If passed, the bill would fully restore the net neutrality rules that were repealed by the Republican-controlled Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
"The tired attacks hurled at this bill and similar measures have proven to be based on industry-backed lies, time and again," concluded Mark Stanley, director of communications for Demand Progress. "Simply put, there's no excuse—every lawmaker should get behind the Save the Internet Act to restore crucial and commonsense protections for their constituents."