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Democrats Want More Witnesses at House Internet Hearing

The ranking members of the House Energy & Commerce Committee and Communications Subcommittee have called on the Republican chairs to add some witnesses to a planned Sept. 7 hearing on network neutrality.

E&C chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) announced the hearingTuesday and said invitations had been sent to Amazon, Facebook, Alphabet (Google), Netflix, Comcast, AT&T, Verizon and Charter.

In response to that announcement, ranking E&C member Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Communications Subcommittee ranking member Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) said the hearing was light on entrepreneurs, small business, consumers and others.

They said they didn't think the committee "could have a serious discussion of this important issue without including the real people affected by the FCC’s proposals," they wrote to Walden and subcommittee chair Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).

They pointed out, as the Republican leadership had emphasized, they were the heads of eight of the largest companies in the world with a combined $2.5 trillion in market cap. 

They said that was hardly representative of the entire internet ecosystem the hearing was billed as exploring.

"We therefore ask that you make sure that any hearing has sufficient witnesses to represent the diversity of real people who will be affected…"