Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) attempted to rush a vote on a controversial bill that critics say would empower the left-wing media, but he was stopped by two members of his own party.
Breitbart reports that McConnell tried to pass the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act through a so-called “hotline,” but the effort failed.
McConnell tries to pass ‘media cartel’ bill
The JCPA would provide an anti-trust exemption allowing news publishers to collectively bargain with Big Tech companies.
Advocates of the bill say it would level the playing field for smaller news outlets, but skeptics say it would enable established left-wing media to form cartels and crack down on conservative opposition. Breitbart has been fiercely critical of the bill, calling it a “media bailout.”
The bill’s advocates won a major victory when Republican Ted Cruz (Tx.) shepherded it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee in September, over the objections of seven Republicans, after negotiating with Democrat Amy Klobuchar (Mn.) on an amendment addressing censorship concerns.
Cruz declared at the time, “Big Tech hates this bill.” But advocates are running out of time to pass it before the next Congress begins in January.
McConnell reportedly attempted to pass the bill through the Senate using the “hotline” procedure, which requires unanimous consent, but Senator Tom Cotton (Ak.), a vocal critic of the bill, and another Republican senator stopped the push, according to Breitbart.
Time running out
The outlet added that “more Republican senators are racing to express opposition to the proposal” as lobbying groups pressure the Senate to vote on the bill before the lame duck session ends.
With little time left, the bill’s supporters may attempt to attach the JCPA to “must pass” legislation like the annual defense bill, Breitbart reported.
That could allow McConnell to sneak the bill through without a debate, something he apparently tried to do with the “hot line” maneuver.
The bill’s lead sponsors are Klobuchar and Republican John Kennedy (La.). It is opposed by some leftist groups who argue that Cruz’s amendment will lead to an increase in so-called “hate speech” on social media.
McConnell won re-election to Republican leadership despite backlash from within the party following its lackluster performance in the midterm elections, which left Republicans without a Senate majority.