Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has once again demonstrated his power in the Senate, this time single-handedly stopping a new Dem bill from moving forward.
The bill, which was co-sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), would have leveled the playing field for local news outlets when it comes to negotiating compensation from tech platforms like Google and Facebook.
The Texas senator proposed an amendment that would have prevented any discussion of censorship between big tech and the media from taking place. This, of course, would have put a stop to any possible censorship that could occur under the bill.
Chuck Schumer was not happy about this, and he immediately shot down the amendment. But Ted Cruz was not going to let him get away with it.
Ted Cruz: “It simply says the topic of discussion when the two sides get together can’t be censorship. It should be ad revenue, which is what all of this discussion of this markup has focused on.”
However, Cruz stepped in at the last minute and derailed the bill, much to the frustration of Klobuchar.
“I think the agreement that we had has been blown up,” Klobuchar said. “This bill is about protecting local journalism by leveling the playing field and allowing local news outlets to band together to negotiate for fair compensation from tech platforms.
“I am committed to targeted, bipartisan legislation to achieve this goal. Since news outlets depend on the antitrust exemption while the covered platforms do not, the platforms could then raise content moderations at the first opportunity in an attempt to avoid the joint negotiations.
“Sen. Kennedy, we worked on this for months and we won’t be able to support the Cruz amendment here, so I’m hoping we can talk about this in the future. But if this is in it we can’t support the bill.”
Ted Cruz savagely responded: “Democrats would rather pull their bill entirely than advance it with my proposed protections for Americans from unfair online censorship.
“What is preeminent to me is whether this bill is going to increase or decrease censorship.
“If you’re negotiating, you ought to be negotiating on the ostensible harm this bill is directed at, which is the inability to get revenues from your content.
“You should not be negotiating on content moderation and how you are going to censor substantive content.”
Ted Cruz single-handedly stopped a new Democratic bill dead in its tracks on Thursday.
The bill, which was meant to give news organizations greater leverage against the giant tech companies, was temporarily withdrawn after Cruz objected to provisions that would have limited the platforms’ abilities to moderate content.
Lead sponsor Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said she plans to move the bill forward in a bipartisan way. But it is clear that without Cruz’s support, the bill will not go anywhere.
The legislation, which would have made it easier for publishers to band together and negotiate with Google and Facebook, was pulled from consideration by its main sponsor, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), after it became clear that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) would object to a vote on the bill.
Cruz has been one of the most vocal critics of the tech industry in recent months, and he has vowed to use his procedural power to help Americans from unjust censorship.