Coffman Introduces the ‘21st Century Internet Act’ to Establish Net Neutrality Constitution

Will Also Sign Net Neutrality Congressional Review Act (CRA)

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Washington, July 17, 2018 | Daniel Bucheli (202-225-7882) | comments

Washington, D.C. –  Today, U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO) introduced his ‘21st Century Internet Act’. If enacted, the legislation would permanently codify into law the ‘four corners’ of net neutrality: no throttling, no blocking, no paid prioritization and oversight of interconnection (exchange points between ISP’s and backbone transit providers). Additionally, the legislation creates a new title for broadband, under the Communications Act of 1934 and contains enhanced protections for both consumer and businesses— ensuring the internet remains free and open to all.

The fight to keep the internet open belongs in Congress, not at the Federal Communications Commission,” said Representative Coffman. “The American people deserve to know that their elected officials, not unelected bureaucrats, are fighting for their interest. That fight begins with my bill, which will create an ‘internet constitution’ with the foundational elements of net neutrality.”

On December 14, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), by a vote of 3 to 2, decided to overturn the 2015 net neutrality order, which barred internet service providers (ISP’s) from favoring certain websites or content over others. On December 12, 2017, days ahead of the FCC vote, Coffman sent a letter to FCC Chairman, Ajit V. Pai, requesting he delay  the vote and provide Congress the opportunity to “hold hearings… and pass permanent open internet legislation”.  While the vote was ultimately held, Chairman Pai, in a written response, did agree that “Congress should work toward a permanent legislative solution to address this issue”.

In response to the FCC vote, on May 16, 2018, the U.S. Senate voted 52-47 to overturn the FCC ‘Restoring Internet Freedom Order’, using its Congressional Review Act (CRA) authority, which allows Congress to ‘reverse’ decisions made by government agencies. Given that the CRA has yet to be considered in the House, Coffman becomes the first Republican representative to agree to and sign a ‘discharge petition’, which would force a vote in the House. 

“While my bill moves through the Congress, I am taking an ‘all of the above’ approach by simultaneously signing the discharge petition on the CRA, and introducing my bill” added Coffman.

Click here for bill summary or final text.

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