Defense Bill Battle Showcases 2024 GOP Hopefuls

An intraparty fight over the annual defense authorization bill is turning into a showcase for rising conservative stars in the Senate who have their eyes on the White House for 2024.

President Trump has threatened to veto the legislation, and Republican senators weighing White House bids are being careful not to cross him.

Sens. Josh Hawley (Mo.), Tom Cotton (Ark.), Ted Cruz (Texas) and Rand Paul (Ky.) — four GOP senators who are potential presidential candidates in 2024 — voted against the legislation that passed with overwhelming bipartisan support on Friday.

“Overall, what it shows you is that for these folks who could be the future leaders of the party, it shows you how strong Donald Trump’s hold on the party is,” said Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist.

He said the issues being raised in the annual defense bill “are going to be important for the 2024 nominee.”

“The Big Tech part is huge,” O’Connell said, referring to Trump’s complaint that the legislation does not include language repealing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a 1996 law that provides legal protections to internet companies and allows them to engage in good faith moderation of content on their platforms.

O’Connell said language reforming Big Tech’s liability shield is a hot-button topic with conservatives who feel social media platforms censor pro-Trump content and may have helped President-elect Joe Biden win the election.

“We see the power that Big Tech wields,” he said. “It really fits in with a lot of the things Trump has been talking about.”

Read more from Alexander Bolton at The Hill

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published this page in In The News 2020-12-14 14:01:51 -0500
Analysis & Political Strategy