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Dems rally for net neutrality on 'Day of Action'

Dems rally for net neutrality on 'Day of Action'
© Greg Nash

Democrats rallied outside the Capitol on Wednesday to show their support for the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules as part of a "Day of Action."

Lawmakers joined with activists in the 90-plus degree heat to slam Republican efforts to repeal the internet rules.

“Without net neutrality, the internet as we know it ends. It’s just that simple,” said Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHillicon Valley: Intelligence agency gathers US smartphone location data without warrants, memo says | Democrats seek answers on impact of Russian hack on DOJ, courts | Airbnb offers Biden administration help with vaccine distribution Intelligence agency gathers US smartphone location data without warrants, memo says Senate panel unanimously advances Yellen nomination for Treasury MORE (D-Ore.).

Hundreds of sites across the internet are participating in an online protest to show their support for the rules, which require internet service providers to treat all web traffic equally.

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Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is pushing through a proposal to kill the Obama-era regulations, and it appears unlikely the grassroots backlash will slow him down.

Still, Democrats insisted that the popular support for the rules will pay off.

“The fact is that political change doesn’t begin in Washington, D.C., and then trickle down. It’s bottom-up,” Wyden said. ”And today we begin the next big battle.”

“The FCC and everyone in this city is going to know what the political consequences are if net neutrality is repealed,” added Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyBiden expands on Obama ethics pledge Democrats shoot down McConnell's filibuster gambit Biden signs executive order invoking 2-year lobbying ban for appointees MORE (D-Mass.).

Republicans and telecom companies behind the repeal push have called for Congress to come up with legislation that would replace the rules.

But Democrats and activists like Free Press CEO Craig Aaron say that is a veiled attempt to water down the restrictions on the broadband industry.

“The fact is, we have something that is already working, so why we would be urging people to take an incredibly popular policy with wide support from millions and millions of Americans and rewrite it to make it 5 percent less awful than whatever the FCC is proposing right now doesn’t make any sense,” Aaron said.