Much like Michael Myers of the Halloween horror film franchise, every time the American people think the misleadingly-named “Journalism Competition and Preservation Act” (JCPA) is dead and buried, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) finds a way to bring it back from the grave.
This Thursday, the Senate Judiciary will hold a markup on JCPA, where Klobuchar will try to convince her fellow Senators that the bill has a chance to pass both chambers of Congress. Klobuchar will ignore the fact that even if the Senate manages to pass JCPA, the bill is dead on arrival in the House.
Instead of wasting time and taxpayer resources marking up a bill that will never become law, the Senate Judiciary Committee should focus on other pressing business.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has confirmed that JCPA does not even have a snowball’s chance in hell at passing the House. In an interview with Breitbart News this weekend, McCarthy said “The Democrats will never give it up. But it is dead in the House. You’ve got a new majority in the House.”
It doesn’t get any clearer than that.
The JCPA would create a “temporary” antitrust exemption to allow print, broadcast, or digital news companies to form a legal cartel in negotiations with online platforms that host their content. This media cartel would then negotiate the terms in which digital platforms are allowed to distribute content. If passed, this would allow legacy liberal media outlets to box conservative and independent outlets out of the cartels.
It is natural that Klobuchar would attempt to take another bite at the apple here given her repeated failed attempts to ram the bill through the 117th Congress. During a disastrous Senate Judiciary markup last fall, Klobuchar pulled JCPA from consideration after Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) successfully offered an amendment that would remove the antitrust exemption for news organizations if they discuss content moderation during negotiations. Another attempt to tack JCPA onto the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act failed at the eleventh hour last year following strident opposition from Americans for Tax Reform and many others.
A wide swath of conservatives publicly oppose JCPA, including House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.), House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.). This broad coalition of lawmakers understand that greenlighting collusion between Big Tech platforms and legacy media under the flimsy guise of “protecting local journalism” spells doom for conservative and independent outlets.
Ultimately, JCPA is a dead bill walking. Speaker McCarthy will not move it in the House. A broad coalition of conservative Senators will not let it escape the upper chamber. Instead of focusing on fulfilling Klobuchar’s legislative agenda, Senate Judiciary should scrap the JCPA markup and focus on other pressing business.