Net neutrality foe Marsha Blackburn’s quest for a US Senate seat got a plug yesterday from President Donald Trump, who endorsed Blackburn at a campaign rally where he also criticized his various enemies, including “Crooked Hillary.”
“[Blackburn] is a great woman,” Trump told a crowd at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium. “We need Marsha in the Senate to continue the amazing progress and work that we’ve done over the last year and a half.
Rep. Blackburn (R-Tenn.) is one of the most outspoken opponents of strict net neutrality rules in the House of Representatives and chairs a key subcommittee that oversees telecommunications. She is seeking the Republican nomination for one of Tennessee’s Senate seats.
Blackburn and Democrat Phil Bredesen, a former Tennessee governor, are the favorites to win their respective parties’ nominations ahead of the general election in November. Bredesen has a small lead in some polls, but the race appears to be a toss-up.
Blackburn tried to kill net neutrality rules
Blackburn introduced the House resolution that overturned broadband privacy rules last year, and she has proposed bills that would either eliminate all net neutrality rules entirely or impose restrictions on how the FCC and state governments can regulate net neutrality.
Trump didn’t address broadband policy in his speech, in which he focused heavily on his own administration and lobbed various insults at Democrats. Trump said:
To keep this momentum going, to continue this incredible progress, to keep on winning, you have to vote Republican in November. You see what’s happening with the Democrats? So Marsha’s very liberal Democrat opponent, Phil Bredesen, I never heard of this guy. Who is he? Who is he? He’s an absolute, total tool of [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer. He’s a tool of Chuck Schumer and of course, the MS-13 lover, [House Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi.
Bredesen was governor of Tennessee from 2003 to 2011 and was previously the mayor of Nashville.
Read Politifact for a summary of “Donald Trump’s false claim that Nancy Pelosi ‘came out in favor of MS-13.'”
Trump said that Bredesen donated money in previous elections to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, drawing boos from the Republican crowd. He then said, “Crooked Hillary,” and the crowd responded by chanting, “lock her up.”
“Stand with President Donald Trump”
Blackburn thanked Trump for his endorsement and said that “he’s had an amazing 18 months” in part because he has “repeal[ed] a record number of regulations.”
“Tennessee needs a senator who is going to support President Donald Trump,” Blackburn told the crowd. “I am going to be there to stand with President Donald Trump and take your Tennessee values to Washington, DC, to fight with him, to get the job done.”
Blackburn’s most recent net neutrality proposal would ban blocking and throttling but allow ISPs to create paid fast lanes and prohibit state governments from enacting their own net neutrality laws. Blackburn’s “Open Internet Preservation Act” would also prohibit the FCC from imposing any type of common carrier regulations on broadband providers.
The US Senate this month voted to reverse the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net neutrality rules. But the effort to maintain strict net neutrality rules faces long odds in the House, and the FCC’s repeal is scheduled to take effect on June 11. Trump’s White House supported the FCC’s undoing of net neutrality rules.
Democratic lawmakers are trying to make net neutrality a prominent campaign issue in this year’s House and Senate elections. Bredesen has said he supports net neutrality but doesn’t appear to have talked about the issue much during his campaign.