McMorris Rodgers Introduces Promoting Internet Freedom and Innovation Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), a leading Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, today introduced the Promoting Internet Freedom and Innovation Act at the Communication and Technology Subcommittee hearing.

At the hearing, Cathy said, “My bill is based on the Washington State law and would codify the “bright line rules” of Net Neutrality, specifically: no blocking, no throttling, and no paid prioritization… The Internet is vital to our future, and the opportunity that it provides is vital to the economic potential of hardworking men and women in the 21st century. I want to once and for all resolve this manufactured political debate and provide certainty to the internet ecosystem so that we can make that opportunity a reality for every single American.”

Below are Cathy’s remarks at today’s Communication and Technology Subcommittee hearing as prepared:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman for allowing me the opportunity to join you all today, on an issue that I believe should have been resolved on a bipartisan basis years ago.

In fact, until 2015, there had been decades of bipartisan consensus on the principles of an open, free internet.

Principles that would ensure consumer protections without disrupting the free flow of information and innovation that has made it a cornerstone of our 21st Century economy.

This debate isn’t about the merits of an open, free Internet. I support an open, free Internet, and I always have, and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle have as well.

This is about how we, as Americans, want to shape the future of our economy.

Do we want to regulate the internet as a 1930s-style utility, one where burdensome regulation and price controls stifle innovation?

An internet that will leave behind rural and poor Americans?

Or a 21st century internet that will juice our economy, create jobs, and allow us to be the leader in new cutting-edge technologies like AI, IoT, and autonomous vehicles?

An economy that utilizes advances in technology to lift people out of poverty and provide them with more economic opportunities?

I – and I hope all of us – want a solution that does the latter…a solution that restores trust and confidence in the American Way.

That’s why I’ve introduced the Promoting Internet Freedom and Innovation Act.  

My bill is based on the Washington State law and would codify the “bright line rules” of Net Neutrality, specifically: no blocking, no throttling, and no paid prioritization.

This is a solution that passed in my home state, on a widely bipartisan basis in 2018 — A bill signed by my Democratic Governor, supported by Democrats in my Congressional delegation, and praised by former FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn.

But most importantly, it’s a solution that does not institute the changes to the internet that would stop innovation, stifle broadband deployment, and leave millions of Americans behind.

A solution that codifies the key principles on which both parties agree and have agreed upon for years.

The internet has revolutionized every single life here today.

It’s changed how we communicate. It’s changed how we measure our personal health or travel across town.

It’s improved the quality of life for millions of Americans.  

The Internet is vital to our future, and the opportunity that it provides is vital to the economic potential of hardworking men and women in the 21st century.  

I want to once and for all resolve this manufactured political debate and provide certainty to the internet ecosystem so that we can make that opportunity a reality for every single American.

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