Politics

Merkley: Net neutrality 'absolutely' a campaign issue

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) -- On the day when the US Senate may vote to keep net neutrality in effect, Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley said it should "absolutely be an issue in the November elections."

The Senate appears to have the votes to pass a bill to prevent the FCC from rolling back net neutrality rules on June 12. However, the House has no intention of taking up the Senate's bill, meaning the vote is largely symbolic.

Merkley, who spoke with KOIN 6 News anchor Ken Boddie from his Washington, DC office, said he hopes the on-again/off-again summit between President Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un takes place as planned. 

He also said "it was a mistake" to allow concessions to a Chinese company that violated international protocol and engaged in business with Iran. 

At issue is the Commerce Department's move last month to block the ZTE Corp., a major supplier of telecoms networks and smartphones based in southern China, from importing American components for seven years. The U.S. accused ZTE of misleading American regulators after it settled charges of violating sanctions against North Korea and Iran.

President Trump said Sunday he would help TZE get "back into business," saying too many jobs in China are at stake after the U.S. government cut off access to its American suppliers.

The release of the Trump Tower meeting transcripts by the Senate Intelligence Committee indicates "there was a strategy to collaborate with the Russians" in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

Merkley, a long-time proponent of health care coverage for all Americans, said Trump has already backtracked on his promise to lower health care and prescription drug rates under pressure from the health care industry. 

And with wildfire season approaching, Merkley said a bill he's sponsoring, the Forest Restoration Act, brings everyone together to better manage forest resources. The bill is winding its way through the Senate.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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