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McConnell Ties $ 2,000 Covid-19 Relief Checks to Repeal Section 230 – Deadline

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has introduced a bill that ties Covid-19 relief checks of $ 2,000 per person to the repeal of Section 230, the provision of a 1996 law that protects social media platforms from liability for how they moderate third-party content.

In doing so, McConnell has likely added a ‘poison pill’ to the effort to increase Covid-19 relief payments from the current $ 600.

A growing number of Republicans have joined Democrats in backing the $ 2,000 checks, after President Donald Trump called for their increase, putting McConnell in place to take some sort of action next week.

But by tying the payments to another Trump priority – repealing Section 230 – McConnell likely makes the package unsuitable for a number of Democrats in the Senate and House. Although politicians from both parties have expressed a desire to amend section 230, it is a whole other matter to repeal it entirely.

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The tech industry has long argued that repealing Section 230 would lead to an avalanche of litigation.

In an editorial published by USA Today last week, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Chris Cox, director of the Internet trade association NetChoice, wrote that the repeal of section 230 “Would also force every website hosting user content to create 24-hour legal and editorial review teams, made up of hundreds or thousands of people to constantly monitor every post, video, photo and blog. Alternatively, websites would suffer exorbitant legal damages at every turn. It is not realistic. “

McConnell’s bill also sets up a bipartisan committee to investigate electoral fraud, as Trump refused to concede the race and declared baseless that the election was stolen from him. The proposed committee would examine the use of items such as postal votes but would fail to address some of Democrats’ concerns about voter suppression.

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) told CNN that what McConnell was doing was say, “I’m going to throw a few poison pills here to see if we can discourage people from voting for this.” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said McConnell was adding “independent partisan provisions that will do absolutely nothing to help struggling families across the country.” Schumer said McConnell’s bill “will not pass the House and cannot become law – any decision like this by Senator McConnell would be a blatant attempt to deprive Americans of a 2,000 survivor’s check. $. “

The House overwhelmingly voted on Monday to increase payments to $ 2,000.

Previously, McConnell blocked an effort by Schumer to push through the increase in payments by unanimous consent.

Trump, meanwhile, linked to a story about McConnell’s action and wrote: “Unless the Republicans have a death wish, and it is also the right thing to do, they have to approve the payments of $ 2000 as soon as possible. $ 600 ISN’T ENOUGH! Also, get rid of Section 230 – Don’t Let Big Tech Steal Our Country and Don’t Let Democrats Steal the Presidential Election. Get tough! ”But Trump did not explicitly ask that a repeal of Section 230 be tied to the increase in payments.

Trump targeted Section 230 after Twitter began putting fact-checking labels on his tweets, while he and other Republicans regretted that social media platforms were biased against conservative views. But they relied heavily on anecdotal evidence, while CEOs of Silicon Valley, during congressional hearings, defended moderation of their content and denied the existence of systemic bias. Democrats, meanwhile, want social media giants like Facebook and YouTube to do more to tackle disinformation, especially around elections and the coronavirus pandemic.

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