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Red Alert: Tell Congress to Use the CRA to Save Net Neutrality
Thanks to your calls, the CRA resolution to restore net neutrality passed in the Senate, and now it's time for the House to follow suit. Use the tool below to be connected with your representatives, or simply text "Open Internet" to 52886. Learn more details about what's next for net neutrality below.
Despite public outrage and Congressional pressure, Chairman Ajit Pai succeeded in his repeal of vital net neutrality rules at the Federal Communications Commission’s last open meeting of 2017. This attack on the open internet also rolled back Title II classification of broadband and abdicated the FCC’s regulatory authority over the internet to the Federal Trade Commission.
We may have lost the vote at the FCC, but the fight isn’t over yet. Now it moves to two new venues, both of which will require public support.
Chairman Pai may have ignored millions of Americans, but he can’t ignore Congress. Members of Congress have the ability and the authority to quickly reverse Chairman Pai’s unprecedented rulemaking through a law called the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Put simply, members of Congress can act to nullify the FCC’s rollback of net neutrality by introducing and passing a resolution of disapproval as soon as the FCC’s new Order has been both published in the Federal Register and sent to Congress in an official report. After that, members of Congress have 60 legislative days to introduce a resolution of disapproval that cannot be amended or blocked by filibuster.
In response to the Federal Register publication of the Order and the #OneMoreVote Day of Action, Senator Ed Markey introduced a CRA resolution in the Senate, and Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Mike Doyle have introduced a CRA resolution in the House of Representatives. A CRA resolution would restore the rules codified by the 2015 Open Internet Order and upheld by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals twice. Thanks to public support, this resolution passed in the Senate in May. Now we need members of the public to use the tool above to tell their representative in the House to sign the discharge petition to force a vote on the CRA. To be clear, the FCC's 2017 Order has not gone into effect yet. An interactive, longform chart explaining the complete CRA process can be found here. You can learn more about the CRA process in our video:
But what about other legislation? It’s true, some members of Congress have introduced or proposed introducing a bills to enshrine net neutrality into law. Unfortunately, at this time, none of those proposals offer full net neutrality protections, while preserving general FCC power to protect consumers on other important broadband issues. This is something Public Knowledge President Gene Kimmelman warned against in his testimony on net neutrality in 2015. Americans should be careful about accepting a weak substitute for net neutrality when we’ve had strong rules under current FCC jurisdiction that can be restored by Congress with a CRA vote.
Challenging the FCC Repeal in Court
There is another course of action beyond Congress. Public Knowledge has already filed a legal challenge against this decision, and we have a long, successful history of standing up for net neutrality rules and enforcement in court. We are prepared to make a strong case for overturning the FCC’s Order repealing net neutrality rules. As a nonprofit organization, any donation you can provide for our legal fund will help greatly.
Here’s what you can do to help:
Contact Congress: Use the call tool above to look up your representative in the House and a short script. Tell your representative to support a CRA resolution of disapproval and overturn the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality. Chairman Pai ignored the will of the public, but as we saw with the Senate, members of Congress cannot ignore their constituents without electoral consequences.
Donate: Support Public Knowledge’s legal work by contributing online here.
This fight is far from over, and we are prepared to continue our long-term commitment to defending an open and accessible internet for all.
Check out Burger King's video breaking down net neutrality: