The House and Senate are in recess this week coinciding with Memorial Day. Before leaving last week, the Senate reached agreement on a long-stalled disaster aid package and passed it overwhelmingly. The House had already left Washington, but leadership attempted to pass the bill by unanimous consent. Rep. Roy (R-TX) remained in town on Friday to object. Rep. Massie (R-KY) did the same this week, delaying passage until after the recess.
The Senate also passed the TRACED Act, bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senators Thune (R-SD) and Markey (D-MA) aimed at curbing abusive robocalls, last week 97-1 with Senator Paul (R-KY) voting no. The bill boosts FTC and FCC enforcement tools, including authorizing fines of up to $10,000 per call. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Pallone (D-NJ) has his own legislative proposal, the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act.
Net Neutrality Working Group
Reps. Peters (D-CA) and Gottheimer (D-NJ) led 47 House Democrats on letter to Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) last week asking congressional leadership to establish a bipartisan net neutrality working group. The lawmakers argue that the Save the Internet Act, which passed the House last month 232-190, stands no chance of passing the Republican-controlled Senate. House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Walden (R-OR) and other Republican leaders announced support for such a group. The Speaker’s office has not responded.
Request to Reform Communications Decency Act
Elsewhere, 47 members of the National Association of Attorneys General sent a letter to leaders of the House and Senate Judiciary, House Energy and Commerce and Senate Commerce Committees urging Congress to reform Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to permit state and local authorities to enforce criminal laws against companies that provide platforms that enable unlawful activities to occur. “Addressing criminal activity cannot be relegated to federal enforcement alone simply because the activity occurs online,” the letter argues. “The authorities in our states must be allowed to address these crimes themselves and fulfill our primary mandate to protect our citizens and enforce their rights.”