Pelosi Remarks at Press Conference Following the Senate Vote to Save Net Neutrality


Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined House and Senate Democrats for a press conference following the Senate vote to save net neutrality.  Below are the Leader’s remarks:

Leader Pelosi.  Thank you, Mr. Leader [Schumer].  Congratulations to the United States Senate for taking such a bold step for democracy today.  This is a great day.  Congratulations Mr. Markey for your ongoing leadership over the years on this important issue.  I am honored to be with, with Senator Schatz, Senator Cantwell, who was a champion in the House and in the Senate for fair and open communications in our country.

I am honored with our leader in the House on this subject, Congressman Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania, who has been working very hard, has made this a high priority and when we will succeed it will be in large measure to his leadership on this subject.  Congresswoman [Anna] Eshoo is the godmother for net neutrality in the House of Representatives.  She fought this fight once at the FCC when they were having some debates there.  I am honored also to be here with our colleague from New York [Congressman] Hakeem Jeffries, part of our communications team.

This is, as the Leader [Schumer] said so clearly, a victory for the grassroots.  They have spoken, they have communicated, in all the ways they do, that this is important to them and about the future.

Six months ago, the Trump Administration handed big-internet providers a brazen give-away at the expense of families and small businesses.  Since then, Americans in every corner in the country have boldly stood up and called for an end to the Trump assault on net neutrality.

Today, Senate Democrats answered their calls, joined by Senators Collins, Murkowski, and Kennedy and we salute their courage.

With this vote, Democrats are taking a step to protect consumers from a White House that wants to hike their costs and choke off browsing choice.  We are giving entrepreneurs a level playing field and preventing the GOP from punishing small businesses.  We are ensuring that American entrepreneurship and innovation will continue to be the envy of the world.  Young people get it: net neutrality is about their jobs and their futures.

Now the House must do its part, advance Mike Doyle’s resolution to protect net neutrality.  House Republicans must join House Democrats to bring this resolution to the Floor for a vote.  Mr. Speaker, give us a vote on net neutrality, immediately.

Supporting this resolution means supporting our democracy, ensuring the voices of consumers are heard, their will is respected and that the internet remains open to all.  Why would Speaker Ryan and Republicans want to stand in the way of democracy?

While Republicans give the American people a raw deal, the majority of them, Democrats are offering a Better Deal.  Democrats have a bold plan in net neutrality to safeguard the open the internet through strong net neutrality protections, to ensure nationwide competitive broadband options for consumers and small businesses and expand our Better Deal for universal high-speed internet to bring broadband to every neighborhood, school and farm.

Democrats will never stop fighting to defend a free, open internet for all.  That is a part of the American way.

Now I am pleased to yield to the distinguished Senator from Massachusetts, a fighter for an open internet for such a long time, a writer and leader of the passage of the Telecommunications Act in the ‘90s which made so much of what has happened since then possible.  Thank you, Mr. Markey, I am honored to yield.

* * *

Q:  Senator, one first off-topic question if I could?  I wanted to get an update on the latest negotiations over the sexual harassment legislation between you, McConnell, Klobuchar –

Leader Schumer.  They’re continuing.  We’re making progress.

Q:  Have you met with them on this?

Leader Schumer.  We’ve talked about it.

Q:  Senator Schatz talked about the fact that his 14 year old son talked about this right away.  The sense I’m getting when I’m talking to people is that it’s not an issue that people understand really clearly off the bat.  Is it challenging to sell this as an issue?  Once people you get, you have those numbers but –

Leader Schumer.  You speak like someone who is 80 years old.

[Laughter]

Q:  Is it hard to sell this to people who don’t get it?

[Laughter]

Leader Schumer.  It’s not.  It’s not.  People who use the internet realize what this is all about.  That’s why there’s been such an overwhelming response.  Millions of calls generated by us. We don’t get that on many issues, so that clearly shows people care.  Six million emails came to the FCC.  People intuitively get this.

Leader Pelosi.  If I may add to that, Mr. Leader.  I know I always say in our Appropriations dealings, ‘the plural of anecdote is not data,’ but I will add another anecdote to Mr. [Brian] Schatz’s anecdote.

I was having a discussion with my brother, Thomas D’Alessandro, former Mayor of Baltimore, about one thing and another and his grandson was there who’s about 21 years old – 23 – I turned to him and said, ‘well, what do you think about all of this that’s going on in our country?’  And we we’re talking about every other subject you can name and he said, ‘I’m only interested in one thing, my friends and I want to know what’s going to happen to net neutrality.’  We hadn’t even talked about net neutrality.

As I said the plural of anecdote is not data but the experience that we had is that young people know – what he said is, ‘we see, my friends and I see this as a place where our jobs and our future will blossom.’  So don’t underestimate the power of young people on the subject.  They’ve spoken up, they’ve made a difference already.

Leader Schumer.  People understand cable and the problems with it.  And they don’t want the internet to become cable.  They get that intuitively.

Q:  Senator, it’s one thing to get 3 Republicans in the Senate, it’s another to get 25 Republicans in the House to sign a discharge petition, to go against the House Leadership.  What realistically do you think the chances are of that happening?

Leader Schumer.  Well, our weapon is the people in the streets, the average people.  Our Republican colleagues, House and Senate, are realizing.  They’re starting to hear the drum beat that they’re always with the special interests and that we’re with the average folks.  Mike –

Congressman Mike Doyle.  Yeah, there’s going to be a vehicle tomorrow morning to make this happen and that’s not what we’ve had up to this date.  A lot of Members can say they’re for net neutrality, but there’s nothing that’s come to the Floor yet, nothing for a Committee to act [on] – they can’t hide behind that anymore.

Tomorrow morning there will be a discharge petition and every Member of Congress will hear from their constituents because we’re going to make sure that if people really want to see this happen, they need to get on the phones and ask their Member of Congress if they’re on that discharge petition.  And if they’re not on that discharge petition, why aren’t they on that discharge petition?  And I will bet you each and every one of their opponents in the upcoming election, is going to ask if they’re on that discharge petition too.

So, it’s going to be a different set of circumstances starting tomorrow morning when there’s a vehicle to get that to the Floor.

Leader Schumer.  We consider this a major issue of the 2018 campaign.  Next question.

Q:  What’s the cost of net neutrality?

Leader Schumer.  There is no cost to the average consumer.  The only cost would be when you don’t have it, is they get charged more.  The only cost of installing it, or making it happen is none.

Senator Ed Markey.  The cost of not having net neutrality is that small internet and software company startups have difficulty in raising the capital to create the new idea to hire people across this country.  The price of net neutrality is a big internet service provider all of a sudden saying Skype can’t be carried into your home or your business.

Leader Schumer.  You’ll pay a lot more for Netflix.  You people know that!

Senator Ed Markey.  You must buy our service, not their service.  So the price that is paid without net neutrality is one that would be felt by every small business, every farmer, every rural American, every start up and every individual in the country.  This is the Constitution of the internet.  Non-discrimination, fair treatment of everyone, regardless of size, as an equal participant.  So, we are looking forward to this battle over in the House.

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