Exclusive — Cruz Caves to Democrat Klobuchar on Media Cartel Bill
Several congressional aides and others familiar with the process told Breitbart News on Wednesday that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) bowed to Democrats on legislation that would allow media organizations to form formal cartels to negotiate with Big Tech.
If Cruz goes ahead with his plan to support and allow the Senate to advance the legislation, he would immediately become one of the biggest movers of mainstream media and big tech, and he could seriously jeopardize his political future.
Cruz, who raised the bar on the Press Competition and Protection Act (JCPA) weeks ago, has now decided to give Klobuchar what she wants and allow the Democrats’ proposal to eventually break away from the Senate Judiciary Committee. Reviewed by the full U.S. Senate.
Several aides familiar with the matter on both sides of the JCPA battle told Breitbart News on Wednesday that Cruz bowed to Klobuchar and agreed to change the language he proposed in the amendment to allow the bill to move forward. Cruz’s office did not deny the aides’ descriptions when questioned repeatedly on Wednesday.
Cruz himself did not respond to inquiries that Breitbart News sent directly to the senator by text. Several of Cruz’s staff declined to answer whether he had reached a deal with Klobuchar, and they also declined to give the senator an interview to explain himself.
Asked for detailed and serious questions about the possibility of a deal and what form it would take, Cruz’s spokesman would only offer a generic statement that Cruz opposed censorship of conservatives — if he voted Support or simply vote, which is inherently untrue or even just for the Senate to consider this legislation.
“Sen. Cruz is a staunch defender of the First Amendment and free speech, and he will always strive to prevent Americans from being censored or silenced,” a Cruz spokesman told Breitbart News.
While Cruz’s office declined to answer specific questions about the issue, the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider the JCPA again for the third week in a row on Thursday. Late Wednesday, the committee circulated a clarifying amendment that does exactly what various committee aides told Breitbart News Cruz had bowed to Klobuchar: Change the original Cruz Amendment text, and remove the Lobuchar said she could not support the content.
Sen. John F. Kennedy (R-LA)’s office had previously weakened a broader bill supporting the Cruz amendment in committee three weeks ago, confirmed Cruz to Klobuchar of the Daily Caller News Foundation’s record. you. Supporters of the JCPA — like Kennedy and now Cruz — falsely claim it will help conservatives fight back against Big Tech. Among the serious structural issues, the legislation does not contain any preferential state provisions, meaning a group of media companies could come together on their own to negotiate a sweetheart deal with a big tech company, but the deal would not apply to all media companies.
In a statement to the publication, Kennedy’s office said:
We reached an agreement that made the purpose of the bill clear: give local news outlets a real seat at the negotiating table and prohibit tech companies from restricting, filtering, suppressing or curating content. The only reason I can see parties opposing the bill is that they have issues with healthy market competition or free speech.
The original Cruz amendment a few weeks ago complicated efforts by the bill’s backers to get the proposal out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The reason is that while Kennedy supported it — like the JCPA’s other Republican co-sponsors — Democrats like Klobuchar opposed it. As it happens, Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA) was stuck in India with the coronavirus and didn’t designate a proxy to vote for himself, so the Cruz amendment was adopted into the bill, Republican co-sponsor Kennedy. And Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC,) and supporter Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) were reluctant to vote for the bill without the Cruz amendment. So a visibly angry Klobuchar withdrew her own bill — she tried again last week, to no avail. Now, thanks to Cruz’s cave, when she tries again Thursday morning, she’s likely to succeed on the committee.