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‘Roll With Us’

Schakowsky: We Don’t Want Cantwell to ‘Get in the Way’ of Privacy Bill

Senate Commerce Committee Chair Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., should come to the table and negotiate privacy legislation instead of building opposition (see 2206220053), House Consumer Protection Subcommittee Chair Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., told us Thursday.

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Schakowsky's subcommittee unanimously advanced the American Data Privacy and Protection Act (HR-8152) for full House Commerce Committee consideration during a markup Thursday. “What we’re seeing now is real momentum,” Schakowsky said. “We don’t want [Cantwell] to get in the way. Consumers have been waiting a long time for this.” Cantwell “has gone to the press, trying to gin up opposition,” she said. “I think that’s unfortunate. We have to sit down, she has to sit down, and talk about this.” Cantwell recently credited Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, for joining her in opposition to the bill’s enforcement provisions.

Schakowsky acknowledged comments from the office of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., saying he will support a privacy bill that has the backing of all four corners. “I agree with that,” Schakowsky said. “This is rolling along, and I would like to have [Cantwell] roll with us.”

The House Commerce Committee remains “anxious” for Cantwell and Senate Democrats to “come to the table,” ranking member Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., told us Thursday. “This is a work in progress. I am encouraged. I urge Senator Cantwell to come to the table.” She noted House negotiators used Cantwell’s privacy bill as the base text for the House bill.

This is certainly not the last opportunity to work with us and continue to deliberate on tweaking this bill,” House Consumer Protection Subcommittee ranking member Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., said during Thursday’s markup. Negotiators have made progress, but further tweaks are needed, he said.

House Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, D-N.J., called Thursday’s markup another “significant” milestone in a process that requires “essential compromises.” Asked about timing on a full committee markup, Schakowsky said, “I know that there is a sense of urgency to get going with this. We don’t want it to just sit. We’re gelling right now. As soon as we can.” Pallone highlighted the bill’s provision banning social media platforms from targeting children with harmful advertising and affirmative consent requirements related to users under 17. Schakowsky highlighted data minimization requirements for platforms and user rights to access and delete data.

The private right of action and preemption provisions have been the most difficult negotiating points, Pallone said. Legislators still need time to finalize the language for those sections, he said. Those sections haven’t been altered since the June discussion draft, except for one provision that clarifies that certain Communications Act provisions don’t apply to covered entities, he said.

Two Republicans offered and withdrew amendments during the markup. Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz., withdrew her amendment pertaining to Big Tech’s “censorship of political viewpoints” and companies’ algorithmic assessments. Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., withdrew three amendments. The provision for preempting state laws is unlikely to withstand legal challenges because exemptions will effectively eliminate preemption, Armstrong said. His second amendment would have blocked duplicative and conflicting litigation from the FTC, state attorneys general and private entities, he said. His third amendment would expand the bill’s right to cure provision. Armstrong’s concerns deserve full committee consideration, said Rodgers. Democrats didn’t offer stand-alone amendments.

The committee should continue strengthening protections in the bill, Public Knowledge Senior Policy Counsel Sara Collins said Thursday. Since the draft was released, data minimization provisions have been tightened, and there’s more clarity on industry obligations, she said. She raised concerns about the FTC’s “minimal” rulemaking authority in the bill and procedural hurdles for the private right of action. FCC privacy authority would also be weakened under the bill, she said.