The Senate’s Republican bulk will almost surely ensure that Pai gets a new term. But Free Press’s appeal likely won’t go unnoticed by Democratic senators, who plan to criticize Pai’s views on net neutrality and broadband customer privacy rules before the Senate vote.
The Free Press petition, says that “The Senate wants to stand up for what’s best and fire FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.” Free Press, which says it accumulated 10,000 signatures on the request in 24 hours, wrote:
Since he entered the Commission, he’s managed to undo systems designed to protect Internet users, areas of color and poor people. While he’s thought to protect the public interest, he’s continuously voted opposite to it and sided with the deep-pocketed organizations like Verizon that once hired him.
He’s leaving at his job. And that suggests we need the Senate to fire him. And we have an opportunity. The Senate has to vote to re-confirm Pai by the period of the year or he’s out.
Here’s what that suggests for us: We can get every single member of the Senate on the report about Net Neutrality and a whole lot more.
The request called out Pai’s plan to overturn the commission’s net neutrality laws and the FCC’s likely support of the right-wing Sinclair Broadcast Group’s acquisition of Tribune Media Company. Free Press also said a vote for Pai is a vote to “Shut off phone and Internet service for people who are trying,” perhaps a reference to a Pai choice that made it more difficult for organizations to provide subsidized broadband to poor people into the FCC’s Lifeline program.
Pai is a critic of Free Press’s views on net neutrality and other issues. When Pai stated his plan to overturn net neutrality rules in April, he singled out Free Press as “a spectacularly mistaken Beltway lobbying group” that wants the administration to “assume control of the Internet” and limit free speech.
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