GOP bill would ban fed officials from colluding with Big Tech to censor Americans

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Republicans on the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability filed legislation Thursday to ban federal employees from helping Big Tech companies censor Americans.

Committee Chairman Member James Comer of Kentucky, House Committee on Energy and Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington State, and House Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio introduced the “Protecting Speech from Government Interference Act” (H.R. 140). It prohibits Biden Administration appointees and federal bureaucrats from using their authority or influence to promote censorship of speech or pressure social media companies to censor speech.

“The Biden Administration has eroded Americans’ First Amendment rights by bullying social media companies to censor certain views and news on their platforms. From COVID-19 to the Biden family’s suspicious business schemes, Biden Administration officials are quick to label inconvenient facts as disinformation and then pressure social media companies to suppress content on their platforms. This threatens Americans’ First Amendment rights. To protect freedom of speech, our bill stops the federal government from pressuring social media companies to silence Americans expressing views online. I look forward to House leadership bringing this bill up for a vote soon so that we can hold the Biden Administration accountable for attacking Americans’ constitutional rights,” said Rep. Comer.

Under the Biden Administration, federal officials have used their positions, influence, and resources to police and censor ordinary Americans’ speech expressed on social media platforms.

For example, former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki used a July 2021 press briefing to call for Facebook to ban specific accounts from its platform and later in February 2022 called upon Spotify and other major tech platforms to limit what the Administration views as “mis- and dis-information.”

Reports have uncovered concerted government efforts to pressure Twitter and Facebook to go beyond their existing community rules to caveat certain posts and suspend users viewed as spreading misinformation.

Most recently, Twitter has released information revealing government pressure to censor Covid information.

“The actions taken by the Biden administration to pressure Big Tech to censor content online are an attack on our fundamental right to free speech. House Energy and Commerce Republicans have repeatedly condemned the troubling actions carried out by radical progressive administration officials to silence Americans and manipulate the truth. It’s time for this behavior to end. I am pleased to join my colleagues, Reps. Comer and Jordan, once again on this important legislation to protect Americans’ first amendment rights,” said Rep. McRogers.

“The collusion between bureaucrats and Big Tech has gone on for far too long. Government agencies shouldn’t censor the free speech of Americans. The Protecting Speech from Government Interference Act is an important first step toward transparency and accountability for Biden’s bureaucrats and Big Tech,” said Rep. Jordan.

Summary of the Protecting Speech from Government Interference Act:

Prohibition on Federal Employee Censorship: The bill prohibits federal officials from using their official authority, influence, or resources—including contracting, grantmaking, rulemaking, licensing, permitting, investigatory, or enforcement actions—to promote the censorship of lawful speech or advocate that a third party or private entity censor speech.

Penalties for Federal Employees Engaging in Censorship: The bill includes the same established penalties for federal officials who engage in political activities in their official capacity as prohibited under the Hatch Act, including disciplinary actions such as removal, reduction in pay grade, debarment from federal employment, or monetary civil penalties.

Special Prohibitions for High Level Officials: The bill further protects American’s lawful speech by prohibiting “further restricted employees”—senior federal officials whose duties and responsibilities extend beyond normal duty hours or their office—from engaging in censorship in a personal capacity. This includes any employee of the Executive Office of the President and Presidential agency appointees.

Violators could face the same penalties that government employees now face if they violate the Hatch Act, which includes fines, reduction in rank or pay, or firing. Mentioned specifically in the bill are officials at the highest levels, banning them from advocating for censorship.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Should not need a bill for the government spying on its people. If government was honest and told the truth ops that will never happen. Don’t trust the government at all people.

  2. This legislation is on target and should be enacted without delay. The House Majority should dig in their heels and compel the Senate to pass it without significant amendment. Personally, I would prefer that violation be a felony.

  3. At face value, it’s a great idea. However, the dem controlled senate will NEVER pass this (check out the individuals that vote against it). Also, as pointed out above, why push a law protecting free speech? We have a Constitutional amendment (much higher than a federal law) that specifically protects our right to say pretty much anything we like (MRAK is a great example of this. People can argue points but none of us are calling for anyone here to be banned from stating their views).

    So the question comes down to ‘how do we keep this right from being trampled on?’ What penalties are being leveled against the federal entities/employees that have blocked free speech, these last few years? If the enforcers will no longer enforce, do we, as citizens, have the stones to replace them? And keep replacing them until we get ones that perform their jobs?

  4. Still working on why… but the acronym is priceless – PSGIA. Come on, say it… Gotta have somethin’ to do with Scott Kendall… I’ll let the readers’ decide.

    • Frank: (If that is in fact your name)
      I would willingly pay inflated prices for gas, food, energy, and keep the right to free speech and open communication/discussion.
      Tell me you think the opposite way.

  5. Any politician that votes against this initiative should be removed from all social media, denied advertising on TV, radio, and in print, and have their time speaking in chambers revoked.
    .
    The correct response to mis/disinformation is information and open discussion, not suppression.

  6. my first thought was “yeah propose this legislation while Biden is in office ” the majority needed to overturn a veto just ain’t gonna happen

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