Senator Sinema’s Letter To Constituents Looks Like It Was Written By A Telecom Lobbyist

The Arizona senator’s letter to constituents insists that “laws designed in the 1930s” are not fit for the Internet — a line that could’ve been written by Comcast.

Activists unleash a crowdfunded billboard calling out Senator Sinema for her failure to co-sponsor the Save the Internet Act. Full details here.

It looks like recently-elected Arizona senator Kyrsten Sinema has doubled-down on her unwillingness to support the Save the Internet Act and overturn the FCC’s undemocratic repeal of net neutrality. Right now she is the only Democratic member of the entire U.S. Congress who has refused to add her name to the historic legislation.

In a letter to constituents obtained by Fight for the Future earlier this week (below), the senator brushes off concerns from citizens asking her to restore net neutrality by parroting cynical, oft-refuted talking points pushed out by ISP lobbyists, astroturf nonprofits, and Big Telecom-funded lawmakers.

In her letter, Senator Sinema writes that “reclassifying broadband providers under laws designed in the 1930s for utilities may have serious unintended consequences,” which bears an eerie resemblance to things said by the country’s most aggressive telecom shills:

It’s very difficult to understand why Senator Simena has so far refused to support to the bill. The House of Representatives just passed it 232–190 with bipartisan support. The previous Senate passed a substantially similar bill in 2018 with a bipartisan vote of 51–47. Even Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana has indicated he will support the Save the Internet Act should it be put to a vote.

So what gives? It looks like the only people Senator Sinema cares about are telecom lobbyists, who have donated over $100k to her election campaigns over the year. But we can change that.

If we can drive enough phone calls we have a solid shot of convincing Senator Sinema to support the Save the Internet Act (S.682). If you live in Arizona, click here to contact her ASAP.

You’ll find her complete letter to constituents below:

Thank you for contacting me about net neutrality and ensuring that the internet remains a thriving, innovative, and open environment. I always appreciate hearing from Arizonans about issues facing our state and country. It is important that we have conversations about topics that matter to you and your family, and I hope you will continue to reach out to me and share your perspectives and suggestions.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates America’s telecommunications and internet service providers. Federal law generally classifies telecommunications providers as “common carriers,” which means that the FCC may prevent these companies from discriminating between signals provided to users. The same rules, however, do not currently apply to broadband providers. Net neutrality is generally agreed to mean that service providers do not control how consumers lawfully use their networks, and do not discriminate against content providers and their access to that network.

In February 2015, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler released a proposal, known as the Open Internet Order, which reclassifies broadband providers as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act and applies, in a limited way, authorities to protect net neutrality. On February 26, 2015, the FCC approved this proposal by a vote of 3 to 2.

In January 2017, President Donald Trump nominated Ajit Pai as Chairman of the FCC. Initially appointed by President Obama as an FCC commissioner in 2012, Pai has long been critical of former Chairman Wheeler’s Open Internet Order, arguing that the problem of large internet providers serving as gatekeepers for what we can access online does not exist. On November 22, 2017, Chairman Pai released a proposal to roll back many internet regulations established under the previous administration, including former Chairman Wheeler’s decision categorizing broadband as a utility like water or electricity. On December 14, 2017, the FCC voted 3 to 2 in favor of Chairman Pai’s proposal, effectively reversing their February 2015 decision.

S. 682, the Save the Internet Act, was introduced by Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) on March 6, 2019 and was referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. If enacted, this legislation would reverse the FCC’s 2017 decision and reinstate the Obama-era net neutrality rules, including classifying the provision of internet services under Title II, the Common Carrier title, of the Communications Act. Supporters of this bill argue restoring Title II regulation of broadband providers ensures that all internet traffic is treated equally. Opponents argue that Title II is antiquated and inappropriate for internet regulation, and a lighter or internet-specific approach would better protect consumers and enable investment and growth.

Net neutrality is critical to maintaining a vibrant and healthy internet. The internet has become an invaluable part of our lives because it is an open, dynamic environment that promotes innovation and investment from both content creators and network providers. Regulation of the internet must be done with the utmost care, and reclassifying broadband providers under laws designed in the 1930s for utilities may have serious unintended consequences, including the limitation of certain consumer protections. Broadband providers require a modern regulatory framework that ensures net neutrality and encourages the freedom, innovation, and investment that make the internet the vital tool it is today. As a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, I have committed to working with Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS) and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find a bipartisan solution that will ensure Arizonans can access the legal content they want at a fair and market-based price.

Thank you for sharing your view on this issue with me. Please do not hesitate to contact our office with any future questions or comments. Additionally, if you would like to stay connected to our office with the latest news, legislation, and other useful information, please visit our website, sinema.senate.gov.

Sincerely,

Kyrsten Sinema

United States Senator