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Democrats and Republicans Will Try to Ram Through Big Tech Reform Without a Single Hearing

Yesterday, Joe Biden traveled to Georgia to push for federal election “reforms” that critics say would federalize elections and take power away from states like Georgia and Texas where setting their own election laws are concerned.

This is a major priority for Democrats; the general perception among them is that they cannot win in 2022 unless they force at least some of these “reforms” through. Republicans, of course, oppose them knowing that elections have always been state matters and prioritizing federalism. Republicans are also cognizant that Democrats have also been monkeying around with congressional procedure in order to jam the massively expensive “Build Back Better”/“Build Back Broke” bill down everyone’s throat. In that instance, Democrats avoided running the bill through the normal committee process, something that contributed to Joe Manchin bailing on it.

So, there is plenty of evidence the Democrats want to break all the rules in order to achieve their goals (though they will continue to make erroneous claims that it’s the Republicans who are destroying democracy and norms).

I mention all of this to give you some context for something else procedurally rotten that Democrats are going to try to do this week: On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will proceed to marking up this antitrust legislation being pushed by Amy Klobuchar (which is opposed by staunch conservatives like Sen. Mike Lee) without even conducting a single hearing.

Big Tech reform advocate Amy Klobuchar
AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool

Once again, it’s all part of an overall pattern. Democrats are abandoning norms in the congressional process in favor of ramming through favored legislation that they think will help them politically. It is not coincidental that this is occurring as polling shows Joe Biden in deep, deep trouble, and Republicans have an advantage that is likely to lead to them winning a big majority in November. It is not coincidental that it is occurring when voters are freaked out about inflation and Biden looks set to make it worse.

There are several conservatives who have been very vocal about bringing Big Tech, but they are choosing to ally themselves with Democrats who see an opportunity to bring those tech companies under their thumb through regulation.

What’s more, the BBB plan figures into all of this: Biden currently has no legislative accomplishments for Democrats to run on in 2022. So they urgently want to pass BBB so they can say they did “something,” even if that “something” will worsen and not alleviate inflation.

The thing is, this is antitrust legislation. Here’s how it fits into the plan: Far-left Democrats like Elizabeth Warren have convinced the President that if he gets tough on antitrust enforcement, he can tame inflation. This, of course, is not true: As Bill Clinton’s former Treasury Secretary, Larry Summers, has noted, no actual economists— even on the left— think this will be effective and there is a huge degree of unanimity in economists believing antitrust enforcement is useless for controlling inflation. But as we all know, the Democratic Party isn’t exactly in touch with reality, so they’re going to try to make it look like Biden is an inflation hawk who has a handle on the situation by bypassing normal Senate procedure to ram through this antitrust legislation.

The key to stopping this end-run around procedure and forcing actual hearings on the legislation will be Senators Cornyn and Cruz. Both are rumored to oppose this procedural move and want hearings, but both also have failed to demand a hearing thus far. I did reach out to Cruz’s office but have thus far not heard back.

Very possibly, in the end, some Republicans will support the bill whenever it eventually comes to a vote anyway, but Republicans— especially from states like Texas— should not be complicit in letting Chuck Schumer and his pals bypass normal Senate practices to help speed up a Joe Biden political win. Especially on the politically critical subject of inflation.

While Big Tech reform is something Republicans are very vocal about, allying with the Democrats on this issue leaves me wary. The two parties have very different ways of tackling these issues, and the Democrats’ way of doing it is rarely something Republicans should want to be tied to.

Again, the bill will not succeed in taming inflation, but that’s no reason to speed things up and give Democrats a talking point on their biggest vulnerability any sooner, or aid and abet them as they attempt to dismantle the way the Senate does business.

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