The status of another important bill, the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA), remains uncertain. The JCPA (S.673) creates an exemption from the antitrust laws, allowing local stations and newspapers to bargain collectively with “Big Tech.”
Today, “Big Tech” companies can take a station’s local news content without fairly compensating the station. In effect, they take a station’s content, use it on their platforms, and then turn around a sell local advertising. This unfair practice needs to stop.
Last week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D NY) included the JCPA in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). In doing so, Majority Leader Schumer had the agreement of Senate Republican leadership, including Sen. Mitch McConnell (R KY) to include the JCPA in the bill. At the last minute, however, Sen McConnell unexpectedly withdrew his support. As a result, the JCPA was not included in the NDAA.
The next possible move is to include the JCPA in the massive “Omnibus” budget/appropriations bill for FY 2023. Of course, Congress must first agree on a top-line budget amount. Republicans would prefer to wait until next year. If there is no agreement, then Congress will enact a continuing resolution to keep the government running If this path is chosen, then the JCPA will not pass this year.
If an agreement on the budget can be reached, then Congress will begin to add other policy items to the “Omnibus Bill,” such as the JCPA. It is unclear whether Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will continue to object to the JCPA as part of an “Omnibus” package.
We are watching his process closely and urging Congress to pass the JCPA this year.