Protecting Speech From Government Interference Act

Floor Speech

Date: March 8, 2023
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. GROTHMAN. Mr. Chair, I also rise to speak in favor of H.R. 140, the Protecting Speech from Government Interference Act.

It is unfortunate that this bill is necessary today. We all know why it is necessary.

In the past, the government weighed in on Twitter and Facebook to lean on them to remove certain posts regarding news stories regarding eventually President Biden's son and his interactions with Ukraine, as well as perhaps interactions with regard to China.

The reason the government weighed in this time is because they wanted to make sure that President Biden won the election.

This is a dangerous thing. There is a certain type of government in which the government weighs in on private businesses. The private businesses are able to stay wealthy. The owners of these businesses are allowed to remain billionaires, provided they play ball with orders from the government.

In other words, you give up your freedom; you maintain your wealth. I am afraid that is the type of country we are heading toward.

The scariest thing about this speech is when we looked at the Pew Research Center and found that 65 percent of Democrats apparently support some form of censorship by the government, which is really a scary thing as to where we head.

Soon the day may come in which a majority of Americans--I don't know the breakdown of that 65 percent, how many were young Americans and old Americans. Apparently, our young Americans are being educated that this is okay, that the government knows best.

Apparently, whether it is on political matters like we had going on with Hunter Biden, I suppose also with regard to things like COVID and treatments for COVID, whatever it is, everybody, now we can marshal the big corporations of America and, under threats of who knows what, we can ask these big businesses, which don't exactly have monopolies but, as a practical matter, you have to use them.


Mr. GROTHMAN. As a practical matter, you have to use them, and we say: Okay. You are worth a billion dollars, to those who own these companies, but we want you to say such and such.

It is very scary that the type of young people who apparently are voting Democrat in elections don't have a problem with this.

That is why this bill is introduced today. We want to make sure that, in the future, when the government has a preferred opinion, be it on a potential President's relative, be it on a certain treatment for a disease, that the American public will be able to also get the other side of the story, the side of the story the government doesn't want you to know.

That is why it is so scary that the Democratic Party is opposing this and why it is so scary that apparently their base, if this opinion is right, doesn't have a problem with a bunch of smart government bureaucrats deciding which version of the truth you are going to get.

I realize it is difficult, apparently, where your base voter is, for the Democratic Party to vote for this bill.

I hope you vote for it anyway and I hope you correct what the young people have apparently been getting in school, that in a free country, one of the things we should all have is the ability to say what we want. The news you are getting should not be vetted by the government.

Mr. GOLDMAN of New York. Mr. Chair, I must commend my colleagues. Everyone is really consistent on the talking points that must have been circulated. Of course, they are not based on evidence, but everybody does seem to believe that somehow the FBI was censoring people on Twitter. Of course, those of us on the Oversight Committee who have sat through the hearings have not seen any of that.

I am also a little bewildered now because what is basically coming out is that my friends on the other side of the aisle apparently don't support law enforcement doing their jobs, don't support the Intelligence Committee doing their jobs to protect our national security, to protect our elections, to protect our democracy. Instead, they want to provide an opportunity for alternative facts to get around the internet as fast and as quickly and as unfettered as possible, but I am here to tell you that we Democrats fully support the First Amendment.

Every single one of us observes, adheres, cherishes the First Amendment. That is, in fact, part of the reason why we in the minority on the Oversight Committee have asked the chairman to do some oversight of Michael Cohen, the former President's former personal lawyer, who was jailed in solitary confinement for 16 days by the Trump administration because they did not want him to publish a book.

That is a prohibition on our free speech. That is censorship. That is a violation of free speech. If we want to talk about free speech, that is what we should be talking about, not some phantom issue that doesn't exist about the FBI trying to make sure that our elections remain free and fair and without foreign interference.

Mr. Chair, may I inquire as to the time remaining.