If there were ever a case that highlights the urgency of efforts to get big money influence out of politics, it’s the case for net neutrality. On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill to preserve Obama-era rules around net neutrality, which prevents internet service providers from charging extra for faster internet services. The bill was passed by a vote of 232-190, 80 percent of Americans (including 75 percent of Republicans) support the bill, and yet it will most likely never be brought up for a vote in the Senate.
Why are Republicans against #NetNeutrality? https://t.co/H016w6Kyov
— Barbara Malmet (@B52Malmet) April 10, 2019
How is it possible that a majority of the House and a vast majority of the American people support a bill and yet it will most likely never be put up for a vote in the Senate, much less signed into law by the president?
Open Secrets, a website devoted to transparency in political donations to politicians, shows that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has the power to decide which bills will be put up for a vote, took hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from companies like Verizon and Comcast.
McConnell has already declared the bill “dead on arrival,” and did so before the bill ever got a vote in the House. If Trump wants the continued sycophantic support of the GOP Majority Leader, he would refuse to sign the bill even if it did land on his desk.
CNET reports that:
‘McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, was asked by reporters about whether the Senate would consider the bill once it passes. He indicated it would not, according to several tweets from reporters. McConnell’s office confirmed the comment.’
82% of Republicans want #NetNeutrality. 85% of independents. 86% of all Americans. Yet Leader McConnell gets to decide the fate of the internet.
That’s not how a democracy should work. @SenateGOP: listen to your constituents and bring the Save The Internet Act up for a vote. https://t.co/yrU8qsBgSS
— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) April 9, 2019
Many Democrats in Congress have also received donations from internet service providers, yet they voted on behalf of their constituents rather than their donors. The votes of Republicans in the House on Wednesday, however, can be traced directly to their donor lists. While Republican voters largely support the bill, those who don’t may find themselves with slower internet, a widening digital divide, and unaffordable internet services thanks to the influence of corporate donations in Congress.
‘The Save the Internet Act, or HR 1644, would restore rules adopted by the Federal Communications Commission in 2015. These rules ban internet service providers from blocking or throttling access to the internet, and they also prevent ISPs from charging companies extra to deliver their online services faster to consumers. In addition, the bill would restore the FCC’sauthority to regulate and oversee broadband networks.’
BREAKING: Keeping our campaign promises for the people, House Democrats have taken action to restore #NetNeutrality and #SaveTheNet! pic.twitter.com/4vyhDahNEi
— Nancy Pelosi (@TeamPelosi) April 10, 2019
The party of “states’ rights” when the argument is same-sex marriage or transgender bathroom bans are now under the leadership of a president who has vowed not to allow states to set their own rules on net neutrality, as well. Trump may have promised to “drain the swamp” in the 2016 presidential elections, but he certainly seems to be a bigger fan of the swamp than he admitted to his rabid fanbase.
‘Even if the bill were voted on in the Senate and got enough votes to pass, it would still need the signature of President Donald Trump. On Monday, the Office of Management and Budget sent out a statement saying it would advise Trump to veto the bill.’
In the last cycle, @senatemajldr Mitch McConnell took in
$185,250 from the Telecom Services industry
$258,893 from the Electronics Mfg & Equipment industry
$69,850 from Comcast alone https://t.co/OIPmnki6wy #NetNeutrality https://t.co/ILbAcjmYM4
— OpenSecrets.org (@OpenSecretsDC) April 10, 2019
Featured image via Flickr by Gage Skidmore under a Creative Commons license