Two days ago, the Senate voted to overrule Trump FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and restore Net Neutrality; it was an incredible victory, but unless the same motion passes in the House, it's a symbolic one.
Many people — including me — assumed that since the House Republican leadership had said they would never let a Net Neutrality-saving measure come to a vote that the game was over. But I was wrong.
EFF legislative analyst Ernesto Falcon has just published a fascinating and inspiring explainer on the "discharge petition," a seldom-invoked procedure that lets Congress call a vote on issues even if the Speaker refuses to allow such a thing.
There were 22 discharge petitions in Congress between 1967 and 2003, and a Net Neutrality-saving vote fits the pattern: it's an incredibly popular issue that is only opposed by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and a handful of telcoms lobbyists. With many Congresscritters fighting for their seats in just a few months, even Republican lawmakers can't afford to sell out on Net Neutrality.
Congressman Mike Doyle [D-PA] started the discharge petition the same day the Senate voted to overrule Ajit Pai. More than 160 Members of Congress have committed to signing it, and once that number hits 218, we get a vote on Net Neutrality. Here's the current list of signers.
You need to tell your House member to "sign the discharge petition on net neutrality." Too often they will feign support for net neutrality or argue in favor of a fake net neutrality bill that actually legalizes paid prioritization (essentially allowing ISPs to charge websites for priority and slowing down parties that do not pay extra fees). As the polls of public opinion make clear, that position is not about what their constituents want and is more likely related to ISP lobbying and their campaign money.
Do not give them that space.
Make it clear that signing the discharge petition is the only way they can prove they support a free and open Internet. Supporting the discharge petition is a commitment to supporting net neutrality and voting for keeping the old protections. Anything falling short of signing it is both in effect and in outcome a vote against net neutrality.
That means calling their office on the phone to make the demand, going to a town-hall, or visiting their local district office, and making it clear you want them to sign the discharge petition. A politician can listen to a constituent demand a vote only so many times before it overwhelms the political money of companies like AT&T and Comcast. They answer to you first at the end of the day.
The Path to Victory on Net Neutrality in the House of Representatives and How You Can Help
[Ernesto Falcon/EFF Deeplinks]