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Democrats condemn FCC Commissioner’s involvement in Project 2025

Democrats condemn FCC Commissioner’s involvement in Project 2025

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Democrats condemn FCC Commissioner’s involvement in Project 2025

Democrats and consumer advocates are speaking out against the role of a Republican Federal Communications Commission (FCC) official in crafting Project 2025, an aggressive right-wing plan to reshape the federal government pushed by allies of former President Donald Trump.

The far-reaching proposal calls for sweeping changes, including dissolving the Department of Education, drastically reducing federal staff, and giving the president greater control over the civil service, as my colleagues Josh Dawsey And Hannah Knowles reported. The plan has sparked significant backlash from Democrats and President Biden since its release in April.

But a lesser-noticed chapter, which calls for sweeping changes to the country’s main telecommunications regulator, is now coming under renewed scrutiny from liberals and activists.

Republican FCC Commissioner Brendan Carrwhom Trump appointed to head the agency in 2017, authored part of the report calling for a drastic overhaul of the agency, shifting its focus more toward reining in tech giants like Facebook and Google.

Carr’s chapter specifically calls for the Federal Communications Commission to be involved in Republicans’ fight against Section 230, the law that protects digital platforms from lawsuits over user-generated content. Carr has long advocated for an overhaul of the law, arguing that social media companies disproportionately “censor” right-wing views, which many conservatives claim they do.

Trump has fired a similarly legally questionable broadside against the legal shield during his time in office. Carr’s proposal for Project 2025 goes a step further.

Carr also advocated using the FCC’s powers to enforce “transparency rules for Big Tech” and suggested the agency could play a role in a ban on TikTok in the U.S.

Together, these measures would represent a significant departure from the FCC’s traditional focus on the telecommunications sector – and a victory for giants like Verizon and AT&T, consumer advocates said.

“It’s a reckless collection of ideological, pro-corporate proposals,” said Robert Weissman, president of the left-leaning advocacy group Public Citizen.

Carr did not respond to a request for comment.

House Democrats expressed dismay at Carr’s involvement in the plan during an FCC meeting. Budget hearing this week, which represents one of the first public expressions of these concerns.

Representative. Lizzie Fletcher (D-Tex.) said she was “surprised and very disappointed” that Carr helped craft the plan, which she called “a blueprint for dismantling our government and undermining agencies like this one and others and fundamentally changing our country.”

In prepared remarks read aloud by a colleague, Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (DN.J.) said Project 2025 would “destroy agencies like the FCC and the important role it plays on behalf of the public in overseeing critical services like our communications networks,” in part by “consolidating power under the president.”

Parts of Project 2025 call for curtailing the independence of agencies like the FCC to align them more closely with Trump’s political agenda.

This could give Trump, if elected, more power to fire regulators who do not implement his agenda, said Berin SzokaPresident of the libertarian think tank TechFreedom.

“Trump will put a loyalist on the commission, and if one of the Republican commissioners doesn’t do what he wants him to do, he will fire him one way or another,” said Szóka, who suggested Carr was using Project 2025 to “campaign for his position as the next FCC chief.”

Trump sought to distance himself from the proposal, saying last week that he knew “nothing about Project 2025.” And the Heritage Foundation, which is spearheading the initiative, said it does not speak for Trump or any other candidate.

Still, outside observers say Carr’s chapter on Project 2025 could provide a taste of what a Trump-led FCC might look like if he is elected.

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Within the industry

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Staff report

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diary

  • The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on “The Need to Protect the Privacy of Americans and AI Accelerators” at 10 a.m. Thursday.
  • The Congressional Internet Caucus Academy is hosting an event titled “Tech Platforms and the First Amendment: Implications of Supreme Court Rulings” on Friday at noon.

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