January 2022 Legislative Update
provided by your lobbyists at Clarity Consulting
Though Democrat leadership is putting on a brave face concerning the two primary pieces of President Biden’s domestic policy agenda – the Build Back Better (BBB) package and legislation federalizing much of the national voting regime – it is difficult to see a path forward in an evenly-divided Senate under existing parliamentary rules. Without changing the Senate filibuster – i.e. the requirement that 60 votes are required to end debate and move to a vote on final passage – nine Republicans would have to break ranks and vote with the Dem caucus. This is extremely unlikely.
Beyond these two bills, however, Congress still has significant work that must be completed in February. With the current continuing resolution (CR) expiring February 18, legislation funding the federal government for the remainder of the year is chief among these tasks. In the current, highly-politicized atmosphere (which may constitute the new normal), the most Congress may be able to muster will be another stop-gap spending bill, funding government at current levels (with some exceptions) through the end of the year.
Further straining Congress’s bandwidth is the “surprise” retirement of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. The nomination and confirmation process for his replacement will consume the Senate in the coming weeks, crowding out other legislative work.
With new Supreme Court justices now requiring only a simple majority vote, however, whomever is nominated by President Biden stands a strong likelihood of being confirmed, provided no Democrat defections. If the Dems stay unified, the GOP will be unable to block the nominee.
FSC-Specific Legislative Action
Clarity’s overarching objective is to establish a professional presence for the adult entertainment in Washington, D.C., building relationships with key Members of Congress, Administration officials, and target regulatory agencies necessary to advance our interests and/or block harmful measures Constructing this foundation is time- and labor-intensive, but is absolutely necessary to establish FSC as a resource for federal officials, and achieve our more specific, discrete objectives
These specific objectives can be quickly summarized as 1) preserving website immunity under Section 230 of the Communications Act; 2) promoting legislation or regulation prohibiting discrimnination in banking and financial services against our members of our industry; and 3) simplifying Section 2257 reporting requirements.
Of these, the most prominent issue under active consideration by Congress is Section 230 reform. The vast distances separating the parties on the issue, however, mean that it’s safe to say that no compromise will be reached this year.
Ironically, our larger task of establishing lines of communication and building relationships with target officials got an inadvertent assist from our most vocal opposition in Congress. Congresswoman Ann Wagner and 102 Members of Congress sent a letter to Attorney General Garland concerning the presence of abusive and illegal content on the OnlyFans platform. While the data cited appeared alarming at first glance, when placed in proper context, it actually substantiated our argument that abusive and illegal content is exceedingly rare. FSC composed a response for the Attorney General, Representative Wagner and the cosigners, dispassionately identifying the vast distance between the letter’s claims and the factual reality.
As such, the Wagner letter provided a perfect opportunity for our response, allowing a respectful but forceful reply. We have commenced meetings with Members of Congress on this topic and will be able to report more in the next update.