McConnell Ties COVID Relief Vote to Section 230 Repeal

McConnell Ties COVID Relief Vote to Section 230 Repeal

WASHINGTON — Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) derailed today any attempts to reach agreement on a one-time, $2,000 COVID-relief check for most Americans unless the bill also included the repeal or reform of Section 230, the so-called “First Amendment of the internet” that digital rights activists consider the basis of online free speech.

McConnell made a floor statement listing a number of unrelated policy measures (in Congress parlance, “pork”) that he insisted be attached to the stimulus check bill.

Section 230 of the 1934 Telecommunications Act was added in 1996 to solve the “moderator’s dilemma” of early internet services and platforms. It encourages companies to moderate user-generated and uploaded content, while shielding them from costly liability in case illegal content is not detected by moderators.

Two days ago, Donald Trump signed a $900 billion relief bill that would ensure a $600 check to most Americans, but he also asked Congress to hold further hearings to raise the amount to $2,000.

A Priority for Trump

While most Republican leaders have shifted their position to now approve of the $2,000 check, McConnell prevented a vote today on that measure and insisted that it only be discussed in the context of ending or limiting Section 230 protections.

As XBIZ has extensively reported, repealing Section 230 would radically impact every platform relying on third-party content, including all adult platforms built on that model, such as tube sites like Pornhub and fan sites like OnlyFans.

By way of explanation, McConnell insisted he was doing Trump’s bidding. “During this process, the president highlighted three additional issues of national significance he would like to see Congress tackle together,” McConnell stated. “This week, the Senate will begin a process to bring these three priorities into focus.”

One of those Trump priorities tied to a potential stimulus check is election fraud, which the President claims is responsible for his loss in November. President Trump and most Republican leaders have refused to acknowledge Joe Biden’s victory in the November 4 presidential election as legitimate.

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