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The Wall Street Journal: House Republicans roll out bill to ban government from pushing internet platforms to block lawful speech

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WASHINGTON—Senior House Republicans plan to introduce legislation Thursday to ban federal employees from pressuring internet platforms to suppress lawful speech, in one of their first steps to advance a central initiative of the newly empowered GOP leadership.

The bill addresses what its supporters claim to be efforts by the Biden administration to influence content on social-media platforms, including attempts to block speech on Covid-19 vaccines that runs counter to White House policy. It would bar federal employees from ordering or advocating for “the removal or suppression of lawful speech” from internet platforms. 

“Our bill stops the federal government from pressuring social-media companies to silence Americans expressing views online,” said Rep. James Comer (R., Ky.), chair of the House Oversight Committee. Mr. Comer is sponsoring the bill along with Reps. Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.), who chair the Judiciary and Energy & Commerce committees, respectively. 

The bill follows the House vote Tuesday, over Democrats’ opposition, to launch a new Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government that is expected to target alleged government meddling in social media, among other issues.

The White House has dismissed the new House subcommittee as a partisan political stunt. While the bill introduced Thursday could advance in the Republican-majority House, it is likely to stall out in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

An expanded version of this story appears on WSJ.com.

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