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Mr. INSLEE. Mr. Speaker, it is deeply disappointing that instead of being here seeking a bipartisan consensus to avoid a government shutdown, we again are brought to this floor in an effort to engage in this ideological effort to, in fact, shut down government.
Yesterday, my Republican friends wanted to shut down the ability of Uncle Sam to protect the freedom of Americans to breathe clean air. Today, they are attempting to shut down the ability of Uncle Sam to protect the freedom of Americans to get access to the Internet. Tomorrow, they are attempting to shut down the government so they won't be allowed to protect the freedom of women to get health.
We should not be shutting down Americans' access to an open Internet. We should be opening up Americans' access and Uncle Sam's ability to guarantee Americans access to the Internet.
Now here's what is at stake. Our access to freeways--and freeways are great, just like the Internet is great, but it is not so great if powerful economic forces can shut down the on-ramps to the freeway. And it's not so great if they can shut down or create a two-tiered system so that if you go to your Internet service provider's favorite warehouse store you get a deal to get access to the freeway; but if you want to go to their competitors, you have got to pay extra and you get slower service to get there. This is what is at stake.
And what the Republicans want to do with this resolution is shut down government's ability to prevent these powerful economic forces from making a second tier, a substitute, a secondary access if you don't go to their favorite situation.
Now, Mr. Speaker, America has been great because it invented free speech and it has been great because it has invented an open Internet. But both of those freedoms are in jeopardy today because powerful economic interests that are becoming larger and larger in consolidating these Internet entities have the ability now to start choking off consumers' access to the Internet. And for those who want to say, oh, it's not a problem, we cannot wait until this horse is out of the barn, it will be too late.
And, by the way, this is not just a consumers' issue; it is a business development issue. It is small businesses who today want to create these small businesses that want to have people get access to their businesses. And they don't have the powerful clout to sign these big, mega-million dollar deals with Internet service providers to give them a leg up.
Mr. Speaker, reject this issue to shut down government's ability to provide freedom of the Internet. Preserve open Internet and reject this bill.
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