To Keep ‘Internet Free and Open for All,’ Dems Demand Paul Ryan Schedule Net Neutrality Vote Immediately

“Activists and advocates in every district are already turning up the heat on anyone who sells out their constituents to line the pockets of AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) talks with journalists during a news conference following a House Republican Conference meeting June 6, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) talks with journalists during a news conference following a House Republican Conference meeting June 6, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Accusing Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan of thwarting the will of the public by attempting to block lawmakers’ efforts to restore overwhelmingly popular net neutrality protections—which will officially be repealed on June 11th—the entire Senate Democratic caucus sent a letter to Ryan on Thursday demanding that he end his “obstruction” and immediately schedule a vote to preserve the open internet.

“It is essential that you take this step to protect middle-class families, consumers, farmers, communities of color, entrepreneur, and all who rely on the free and open internet.”
—Senate Democrats

“It is incumbent on the House of Representatives to listen to the voices of consumers, including the millions of Americans who supported the FCC’s 2015 net neutrality order, and keep the internet free and open for all,” the Senate Democrats write, urging Ryan to take up a Congressional Review Act (CRA) measure they passed last month with the help of three Republicans.

“The rules that this resolution would restore were enacted by the FCC in 2015 to prevent broadband providers from blocking, slowing down, prioritizing, or otherwise unfairly discriminating against internet traffic that flows across their networks,” the Democrats note. “It is essential that you take this step to protect middle-class families, consumers, farmers, communities of color, entrepreneur, and all who rely on the free and open internet.”  The senators’ letter comes as House Democrats are gathering signatures for a discharge petition that would force a vote on the CRA, whether Ryan wants one or not. Given that the vast majority of GOP lawmakers have opposed net neutrality despite its popularity among their constituents, Ryan likely doesn’t want his colleagues to go on the record against the open internet ahead of November’s crucial midterms.

“If the CRA resolution doesn’t get a vote this year, it dies when the new Congress comes into session.”
—Battle for the Net

As of this writing, the Democrats’ discharge petition has around 175 of the 218 signatures needed to bring the CRA to the floor.

While the public is on their side, net neutrality supporters in Congress are racing against the clock.

“If the CRA resolution doesn’t get a vote this year, it dies when the new Congress comes into session,” the open internet coalition Battle for the Net observes, urging Americans to flood the phonelines and inboxes of their representatives.

Coinciding with the official implementation of FCC chair Ajit Pai’s deeply unpopular net neutrality repeal plan on Monday, web defenders are holding a massive internet-wide day of action to channel public anger and pressure lawmakers to support the House resolution to restore the open internet.

While announcing their action plan for next week, open internet advocates made clear that they will make net neutrality a major campaign issue as midterms approach and vowed to ensure that lawmakers who fail to support the House CRA “regret it come election time.”

“Activists and advocates in every district are already turning up the heat on anyone who sells out their constituents to line the pockets of AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon,” Free Press Action Fund campaign director Candace Clement said in a statement on Wednesday. “Keeping the internet open is critical. It powers social movements, and provides a global platform for people of color, LGBTQ people and the most marginalized communities to tell their own stories, run their own businesses, and route around powerful gatekeepers.”

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GOP braces for intraparty fight

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After nine months of empty promises to help young undocumented immigrants, House Republicans are facing a make-or-break moment on Thursday.

Retiring Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will pitch a long-awaited compromise immigration plan to rank-and-file Republicans in the Capitol basement. The meeting is one of the biggest of the Congress for House Republicans, and it could get heated.

But it may be too little, too late.

Even some Ryan allies are pouring cold water on the Speaker’s effort to win 218 GOP votes for the compromise legislation. If he fails, some two-dozen centrist Republicans are threatening to buck leadership and move forward with their discharge petition, a move that would trigger a series of contentious immigration votes on the floor five months before the midterm elections.

“I don’t see how we [get] 218 Republicans. I’d love to see it, but I’m just being realistic,” said Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), a senior deputy whip who may sign the immigration petition if the issue remains unresolved.

GOP leaders had originally set aside two hours for Thursday’s “family discussion” on immigration. But in order to give all lawmakers a chance to weigh in, leaders are now saying they will not place a time limit on the 9 a.m. meeting in the Capitol.

Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) said the meeting will last “however long it takes for the family to come together.”

“It’s going to be a wide-open, open-mic, venting, discussing, problem-solving” session, said Collins, one of the 23 Republicans who have signed the immigration petition.

“It’s going to be very divided. Some people are very angry about this issue being forced on them,” another petition backer, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), told The Hill. “I think it’s going to be tense.”

Most Republicans who have signed the petition are in competitive races this election year — such as Coffman — or are retiring at the end of this Congress.

Nine months ago, President Trump decided to end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Since then, Ryan and his deputies have said they want to get a deal that would address the recipients of that program, often called “Dreamers,” and border security.

On Wednesday, Ryan declined to share any details about his negotiations with conservatives from the House Freedom Caucus and the centrist petition supporters, including Reps. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) and Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.). But he said he thinks there is a narrow path to a deal.

“I really do believe there’s a sweet spot here,” Ryan told reporters.

As a sign of the urgency surrounding the Republicans’ search for a deal, Stephen Miller, senior adviser to Trump and a well-known immigration hawk, spent parts of Wednesday calling Republican lawmakers to gauge progress and relay the president’s priorities.

Perhaps the most significant disagreement among the clashing Republicans surrounds the question of whether beneficiaries of DACA should be granted a pathway to citizenship under the bill — and how that pathway is defined.

“The law is the law,” said Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas), a member of the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC) who endorsed that view.

Another RSC member, Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.), described a pathway to citizenship as “a bridge too far,” while Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) stated: “People violated the law, and I don’t believe they should be rewarded for that.”

Still others contend there’s room to provide eventual citizenship benefits without forcing Dreamers out of the country first.

Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), who heads the 160-member RSC, said many in the group are open to allowing Dreamers citizenship without having to leave the country — as long as they don’t jump ahead of other applicants.

“That is part of the negotiation,” Walker said.

Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), who has participated in the negotiations, is also opposed to a “special” pathway to citizenship, but said he, too, is open to providing the underlying benefit.

“How DACA recipients end up getting citizenship is the most difficult question we face,” Meadows said. But “it’s not a non-starter.”

The moderate Republicans, meanwhile, are making the citizenship pathway — without any “touchback” stipulation — an underlying condition of their support.

“We are insistent that they be given a bridge into the legal immigration system,” Curbelo said. “We’re going to keep insisting on that.”

One potential area of agreement may be the adoption of a system in which any expansion of benefits to Dreamers, beyond the current DACA population, is matched one-to-one by cuts in legal immigration visas — a type of “pay-as-you-go” rule governing U.S. immigration, in Walker’s description.

Looming over the talks to salvage the DACA program is Trump’s demand that the package combines the Dreamer protections with three other provisions: enhanced border security, including Trump’s wall; new limits on family migration; and the elimination of the diversity visa lottery.

GOP leaders have used that “four pillars” approach as the underlying guide for the subsequent negotiations, and even the moderate Republicans now pressing leadership for DACA votes maintain they’re open to the cuts in legal immigration under Trump’s design.

“The four pillars outline has been the basis of the discussion and the negotiation,” said Curbelo.

Although Ryan indicated last month that any immigration deal must be bipartisan — “It’s clear to us that we’re going to have a bill that’s going to be bipartisan, but one that the president can support,” he said — the new strategy appears designed to win the support of 218 Republicans.

Indeed, cuts to legal immigration would erode the support of virtually all the Democrats, who have repeatedly warned that they’ll oppose any effort to scale back family migration and diversity visas, which benefit as many as 50,000 people each year from countries with low immigration rates.

Curbelo put the odds at “50-50” that Ryan’s proposed deal to defuse the discharge petition is successful. If no agreement is reached Thursday, the moderates say they’re confident that at least two more Republicans would sign the document — enough to hit the magic 218 mark if all Democrats sign it.

All but one of the 193 House Democrats have signed the petition. Rep. Henry Cuellar, who represents a border district in Texas, wants a commitment from Democratic leadership officials that they won’t support a border wall in exchange for legalizing Dreamers.

Curbelo, however, stopped short of guaranteeing the petition’s success.

“Until they actually sign, we can’t count them,” said Curbelo, who represents a heavily Hispanic South Florida district. “But we’re obviously very close.”

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Paul Ryan Warns If Republicans Lose House, Cover-Ups Will End And ‘Subpoenas’ Will Begin

Posted on May 3, 2018 at 5:54pm

Gage Skidmore
House Speaker Paul Ryan appeared to admit that Congressional Republicans have been covering up for President Donald Trump by warning that Democrats will issue “subpoenas” if they take over the House.
According to The New York Times, Ryan said at a financial conference that if the Democrats win back either the House or the Senate in the midterm elections, “you’ll have gridlock, you’ll have subpoenas.”  As MSNBC’s Steve Benen writes, his use of the word “subpoenas” is notable.
“What the retiring House Speaker seemed to suggest was that Democrats, if given any meaningful authority in Congress, would take steps to hold the president accountable for his actions,” Benen wrote. “Or put another way, Ryan wants voters to back Republican candidates in order to ensure that the pro-Trump cover-up can continue on Capitol Hill.”
New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait similarly pointed out, “What really would change with Democratic control of a chamber is the subpoena part. But it’s worth spelling out just what it is Ryan is warning will happen — and what, by implication, he is confessing.”
“When he says his party needs to keep control of the House to prevent subpoenas, he is both promising the cover-ups will continue if his party keeps its control of government, and expressing his clear belief that he opposes any level of independent oversight of the Executive branch,” Chait added.

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Furious Koch Brothers Sell Paul Ryan on eBay

Satire from The Borowitz Report  By Andy BorowitzApril 11, 2018

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—In a fit of pique, David and Charles Koch have unceremoniously listed House Speaker Paul Ryan for sale on the auction site eBay.
The Kochs, who reportedly had purchased Ryan for a sum estimated in the tens of millions, now seem likely to lose their entire investment.
According to Ryan’s listing on the auction site, the Kochs set a five-hundred-dollar asking price for the used congressman, a figure that, in light of the tepid bidding for him, seems optimistic.
“Granted, owning Paul Ryan doesn’t have the benefits that it’s had for David and Charles for all of these years, but the status of owning a former Speaker of the House has to be worth something,” one Koch associate said. “Certainly more than the current high bid of seventeen dollars.”
The eBay listing suggested several possible uses for the former House Speaker, including as a Halloween ornament or garden gnome.

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