Pelosi Floor Speech in Support of the Save the Internet Act
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I thank the gentleman for yielding. I commend him for his extraordinary leadership on this very important subject.
To young people in our country, to every person in our country, from sea to shining sea, and to the future of our country, I join my colleagues in defense of the free and open internet, which is a pillar of our democracy.
I'm pleased to follow Mr. Doyle and his leadership, Mr. Pallone, the Chairman of the Committee, Ms. Eshoo, godmother of net neutrality in earlier times, Mr. Butterfield for his wonderful statement. And I know we'll be hearing from Congresswoman Matsui and other Members. I'm honored to join all of them.
Again, I salute Chairman Mike Doyle for his leadership of the Save The Internet Act and for his persistent, dissatisfied leadership to protect net neutrality. I also commend our former colleague in the House, Senator Markey, for his leadership now in the Senate.
And let us salute the millions of Americans who have marched, mobilized, made their voices heard in this fight: the four million Americans who wrote to the FCC, that would be the Federal Communications Commission, to support the 215 Obama-era net neutrality protections;
The 10 million Americans who weighed in again this time to oppose the 2017 Trump decision to destroy those protections;
The 600,000 Americans who tuned in to watch a livestream of the Committee mark-up on this legislation.
And, Mr. Speaker, it's now 4.8 million and a growing number who have watched the Committee proceedings and the House Floor today. That is the – so much enthusiasm in our country. That's the extent and growing interest. That's unheard of for the work we do here.
Net neutrality is a bipartisan priority for the American people. As Mr. Chairman Doyle said, a full 86 percent oppose the Trump assault on net neutrality, including 82 percent of Republicans, outside.
Young people, in particular, get it. This is about their jobs and their futures.
With the Save The Internet Act, Democrats are honoring the will of the American people. We are restoring protections so we can stop unjust discriminatory practices by ISPs, that would be Internet Service Providers, that try to throttle consumers' browsing speed, block their internet access and increase their costs. Throttle their speed, block their access, increase their cost.
It would give entrepreneurs and small businesses a level playing field on which to compete, and ensure American innovation can continue to be the envy of the world.
This legislation also brings the power of the internet to every corner of the country, from rural America to cities, as Mr. Butterfield pointed out, because it provides the legal basis for the Connect America Fund. We must close the urban-rural digital divide, although we have challenges in urban areas as well as in rural areas, but in rural areas, this is a must.
It will make all the difference in the world, guaranteeing better, cheaper internet for everyone so we can create jobs and unlock the economic potential of every person in every community.
This debate is not just about legislation. It is about the quality of people's lives. More than 30,000 San Franciscans, in my own district, have wrote my office about the impact of net neutrality in their lives.
They know American businesses are at risk. One writes, ‘As small business owner, I depend on free and unfettered communication with my customers and vendors. My business and personal lifestyle is in jeopardy.’
They know that America’s innovation is at risk. As a young student writes, ‘Without net neutrality, we lose our last medium of allowing small and upcoming companies to thrive.’
They know that our spirit of entrepreneurialism is at risk, as another constituent writes, ‘The internet is a place where anyone, rich or poor, can make a living, become successful, and make themselves known.’
And they know that our very democracy is at risk because, as one constituent writes, ‘A world without net neutrality undermines a central priority for a democratic society: the necessity of all citizens to inform themselves and each other.’
Those are some communication from my constituents. I’ll just tell you about a family discussion, I was visiting my brother in Baltimore, Thomas D’Alesandro and we were sitting around the table with his children and grandchildren and we were talking about one thing or another that was going on in the country and I said to my – his grandson, what do you think about all of this? We are talking about, national security, etc. He said, ‘My friends and I, we care about one thing: net neutrality.’ Net neutrality.
That was so exciting to hear. And here we are delivering for young people. Supporting this bill means supporting our democracy, ensuring that our voices – the voices of the public are heard, that their will is respected and that the internet remains free and open to all.
We call on our Republican colleagues to join us to support our democracy by restoring net neutrality.
I hope we have a good, strong, bipartisan vote as a tribute to you, Chairman Doyle, and I urge an aye vote and yield back the balance of my time.