Activists push for net neutrality answers ahead of midterm elections

A group of advocacy groups are attempting to turn net neutrality into an election issue ahead of the midterms later this year.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), CREDO Action, Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, and the Free Press Action Fund are sending a questionnaire to incumbents in the House of Representatives and their challengers, demanding answers on Congress’ effort to overturn the Federal Communications Commission‘s (FCC) decision to rescind net neutrality rules last year.

Congress is attempting to use the Congressional Review Act (CRA), a mechanism that allows lawmakers to overturn federal agency decisions within a certain time frame. The Senate passed its CRA earlier this summer, and the House is currently trying to drum up enough support to pass its own version. The CRA would need just a simple majority to pass. Currently, 177 lawmakers have voiced support for it, making it 41 votes shy of a majority.

If passed in the House, President Donald Trump would still need to sign it into law.

The questionnaire from the advocacy groups asks incumbent lawmakers if they will commit to signing the discharge petition—the first thing needed before a vote on the CRA can occur—and vote on the net neutrality CRA in the House. It also asks challengers if they would have signed a discharge petition and if they would eventually vote for the CRA.

“Net neutrality has massive support among the public, regardless of political affiliation, and it will be a major consideration for voters in this year’s midterms,” Demand Progress Executive Director David Segal said in a statement. “Incumbents who decline to sign the discharge will be actively siding with extremely unpopular telecom giants like Comcast and AT&T over their constituents and small businesses—a particularly dangerous political move for members facing competitive races.”

Public support for net neutrality has been well documented. However, a recent poll from IMGE Insights found that 60 percent of voters said they would be more likely to vote for their representative if they supported restoring net neutrality protections through the CRA. The same poll found that 58 percent of undecided voters were also more likely to vote for lawmakers who take action on net neutrality.

Among Democrats, another survey from Morning Consult/Politico found 59 percent of people said support for net neutrality was somewhat or very important to them as they head to the polls.

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Andrew Wyrich

Andrew Wyrich

Andrew Wyrich is a politics staff writer for the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the internet. Andrew has written for USA Today, NorthJersey.com, and other newspapers and websites. His work has been recognized by the Society of the Silurians, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).