Since winning election to the U.S. Senate in 2008, Al Franken (D-Minnesota) has become one of that chamber’s top net neutrality defenders. With the House uninterested in compromise on the issue, the real push to gut the FCC’s existing net neutrality order will take place this year in the Senate.
Last week, Franken and three other senators drafted a letter in which they blasted the House for trying to “defund” the FCC’s net neutrality enforcement. House Republicans “claim to stand for freedom,” the letter says (.pdf). “But the only freedom they are providing for is the freedom of telephone and cable companies to determine the future of the internet, where you can go on it, what you can attach to it, and which services will win or lose on it.”
Franken has even gone so far as to call net neutrality the “First Amendment issue of our time.” Those are tough words, but Franken remains convinced of their truth, even as he supports a controversial plan to censor websites over concerns about piracy and counterfeiting. (That legislation, called the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act or COICA, is currently under consideration.)