Letter to the Hon. Joseph R. Biden, President of the United States - Opposing White House Censorship Plan

Letter

By: Lee Zeldin, Steve Womack, Rob Wittman, Joe Wilson, Sr., Nikema Williams, Bruce Westerman, Brad Wenstrup, Daniel Webster, Randy Weber, Sr., Michael Waltz, Jackie Walorski, Tim Walberg, Ann Wagner, Beth Van Duyne, Jeff Van Drew, Fred Upton, Mike Turner, William Timmons, Tom Tiffany, GT Thompson, Jr., Van Taylor, Greg Steube, Bryan Steil, Peter Stauber, Victoria Spartz, Lloyd Smucker, Jason Smith, Chris Smith, Adrian Smith, Pete Sessions, Austin Scott, David Schweikert, Maria Salazar, John Rutherford, David Rouzer, Matt Rosendale, John Rose, Hal Rogers, Guy Reschenthaler, Tom Reed II, Bill Posey, August Pfluger, Scott Perry, Greg Pence, Gary Palmer, Steven Palazzo, Burgess Owens, Jay Obernolte, Devin Nunes, Ralph Norman, Jr., Dan Newhouse, Troy Nehls, Greg Murphy, Markwayne Mullin, Blake Moore, Barry Moore, John Moolenaar, Mary Miller, Dan Meuser, Patrick McHenry, Lisa McClain, Tracey Mann, Alex Mooney, Mariannette Miller-Meeks, Carol Miller, David McKinley, Tom McClintock, Brian Mast, Nicole Malliotakis, Nancy Mace, Frank Lucas, Billy Long, Debbie Lesko, Bob Latta, Doug LaMalfa, Young Kim, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Barry Loudermilk, Julia Letlow, Jacob LaTurner, Doug Lamborn, David Kustoff, Trent Kelly, Mike Kelly, Jr., John Joyce, Mike Johnson, Bill Johnson, Ronny Jackson, Bill Huizenga, Trey Hollingsworth III, Fred Keller, Jim Jordan, Dusty Johnson, Chris Jacobs, Darrell Issa, Richard Hudson, Jr., Ashley Hinson, Clay Higgins, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Vicky Hartzler, Andy Harris, Brett Guthrie, Glenn Grothman, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Jody Hice, Kevin Hern, Diana Harshbarger, Jim Hagedorn, Michael Guest, Morgan Griffith, Mark Green, Sam Graves, Paul Gosar, Anthony Gonzalez, Louie Gohmert, Bob Gibbs, Andrew Garbarino, Matt Gaetz, Garret Graves, Bob Good, Tony Gonzales, Carlos Gimenez, Mike Garcia, Mike Gallagher, Russ Fulcher, Virginia Foxx, Chuck Fleischmann, Michelle Fischbach, Randy Feenstra, Ron Estes, Neal Dunn, Byron Donalds, Scott Franklin, Scott Fitzgerald, Tom Emmer, Jeff Duncan, Mario Diaz-Balart, Scott DesJarlais, Warren Davidson, Dan Crenshaw, James Comer, Jr., Andrew Clyde, Ben Cline, Madison Cawthorn, John Curtis, Tom Cole, Michael Cloud, Steve Chabot, John Carter, Buddy Carter, Ken Calvert, Tim Burchett, Larry Bucshon, Vern Buchanan, Kevin Brady, Lauren Boebert, Jerry Carl, Michael Burgess, Ted Budd, Ken Buck, Mo Brooks, Mike Bost, Dan Bishop, Gus Bilirakis, Jack Bergman, Troy Balderson, Brian Babin, Kelly Armstrong, Rick Allen, Cliff Bentz, Jim Banks, Jim Baird, Jodey Arrington, Mark Amodei, Robert Aderholt, Elise Stefanik, Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Claudia Tenney
Date: July 26, 2021
Location: Washington, DC

President Biden:

We are concerned that your administration's actions are undermining First Amendment principles by pressuring private companies to censor free speech. On July 15, 2021, your press secretary, Jen Psaki, announced that your administration is "in regular touch with" social media platforms and "flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation." The federal government's ongoing efforts to pressure private companies to censor speech that it disagrees with is alarming and an affront to the First Amendment.

The Democrat Party has been attacking the First Amendment since day 1 of your administration. For instance, earlier this year, House Democrats sent letters to 12 Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (MVPDs) pressuring these companies to block certain conservative media outlets. In response, House Republicans sent a letter to the Acting Chair of the Federal Communications Commission, Jessica Rosenworcel, asking her to stand on the side of free-speech and denounce the behavior of these House Democrats. Unfortunately, the Acting Chair still has not responded to our request.

Your administration's efforts to pressure private entities to promote approved speech and censor disfavored speech undermines fundamental foundation of the First Amendment. It is the type of behavior we would expect from a Cuban dictator, not a President of the United States who is also the former Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

It is also clear from recent history that certain information related to COVID-19 that was once labeled as "misinformation" is now viewed quite differently. For example, until recently, Facebook would not allow any discussion on its platform about the lab leak theory, and for months your chief medical advisor denounced any suggestion that COVID-19 may have escaped the Wuhan lab. Presumably, your administration would have flagged content about the lab leak theory as "disinformation" and demanded social media companies suppress such speech. But you would have been wrong. This is the problem with your censorship mission. Not only are you attacking the First Amendment, but your "truth" might be wrong.

As staunch defenders of the First Amendment and free speech, our position is simple: the answer to speech you disagree with should be more speech, not less. As the President of the United States, you have a duty to defend the Constitution. Every American cherishes free speech, but your administration is attacking this fundamental right.

We urge you to abandon your censorship mission and ask that you respond to the following no later than August 2021:

1. Please provide a list of every social media company the Biden-Harris administration is working with to censor content your administration deems as "disinformation."

2. Please provide a complete list of the social media posts and content the Biden-Harris administration has flagged for social media companies to censor and identify which company such content was requested to be removed from.

3. Please provide a complete list of social media users the Biden-Harris administration has requested social media companies to suspend or ban and identify which company such requests were made of.

4. Please produce any written policy or plan outlining the Biden-Harris administration's censorship program.


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