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‘Tired of Waiting’

Graham Pushing Unanimous Consent for Judiciary’s Kids’ Online Safety Bills

Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., will seek unanimous consent (UC) for five committee-passed kids’ online safety bills, he told reporters Tuesday.

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The package includes the Earn It Act, Stop Children Suffering from Abuse and Mistreatment Act, the Shield Act, the Report Act and the Protect Safe Childhood Act (see 2305110048 and 2305020053). Graham said he will schedule meetings with Democrats when Congress returns from a break on Feb. 26.

By seeking unanimous consent, bill sponsors will discover who objects, he said: “The people who object better have a damn good reason.” He conceded the effort may not result in final passage: “But it’s not going to be because of a lack of trying. So, I’m just going to push, push, push. I think if you push hard enough, long enough, the wall breaks.” Sponsors are seeking tech industry support for the kids’ online safety legislation (see 2401300086).

I’m in a delicate situation, but I think what [Graham] wants to do is the right goal,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., told us. “I want to make them the law of the land as quickly as possible. ... I want to bring those bills to the floor, and hopefully we can find a way to do it on a bipartisan basis.”

I will support whatever means will work to seek passage of the bills,” said Senate Privacy Subcommittee Chairman Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., a lead sponsor on the Earn It Act. Blumenthal said he’s talking with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., about getting floor time for the Kids Online Safety Act, which the Senate Commerce Committee passed unanimously in July. Chair Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., subsequently expressed interest in seeking unanimous consent for the Kids Online Safety Act to expose opponents (see 2311090071). “I’m talking to our leadership, specifically Sen. Schumer, about the best way to gain passage,” said Blumenthal. Schumer’s office didn’t comment Tuesday.

Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Calif., on Tuesday was hesitant to support Graham’s UC push. It takes only one senator to block UC. “Obviously, we support moving forward with the conversation, but [we're] not sure if they’ve been amended to address some of the concerns that came up at committee,” he said.

I fully expect Sen. Graham to” follow through with his plans, said Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., lead Republican sponsor for the Kids Online Safety Act. “People are tired of waiting.”

I think they’ll pass,” Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., said of the Judiciary bills. “You’ve always got one or two people who want to object to negotiate something of their own, but I’m supportive of” Graham’s plan.