McMorris Rodgers Secures Free Speech Victory with Bill to Combat Government Censorship

U.S. House Passes the Protecting Speech from Government Interference Act

Mar 09, 2023

Washington, D.C. – The House of Representatives today passed Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ (WA-05) legislation to protect free speech and prevent government censorship. The Protecting Speech from Government Interference Act (H.R. 140) specifically prohibits Biden administration officials and federal bureaucrats from using their authority or influence to promote censorship of speech or pressure social media companies to censor speech.

Cathy introduced this legislation with House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) and House Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).

“President Joe Biden and his administration have become the party of censorship. They’re actively silencing American voices in order to control the narrative to benefit their political agenda—we have the receipts,” said Rodgers. “House Energy and Commerce Republicans have condemned these censorship efforts again and again, and I’m pleased to join Representatives Comer and Jordan in passing this legislation to protect Americans’ first amendment rights from federal employees seeking to abuse their power and control the battle of ideas. We will not allow this administration to be the arbiters of truth online.”

The Protecting Speech from Government Interference Act includes:

Prohibition on Federal Employee Censorship: The bill prohibits federal officials from using their official authority, influence, or resources—including contracting, grantmaking, rulemaking, licensing, permitting, investigatory, or enforcement actions—to promote the censorship of lawful speech or advocate that a third party or private entity censor speech.

Penalties for Federal Employees Engaging in Censorship: The bill includes the same established penalties for federal officials who engage in political activities in their official capacity as prohibited under the Hatch Act, including disciplinary actions such as removal, reduction in pay grade, debarment from federal employment, or monetary civil penalties.

Special Prohibitions for High Level Officials: The bill further protects Americans’ lawful speech by prohibiting “further restricted employees”—senior federal officials whose duties and responsibilities extend beyond normal duty hours or their office—from engaging in censorship in a personal capacity. This includes any employee of the Executive Office of the President and Presidential agency appointees.

Click here to read the bill.

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