On Tuesday evening, Democrats in the House of Representatives blocked Republicans from moving forward with a measure that would defund the Department of Homeland Security's new "ministry of truth" set on regulating supposed disinformation that's raised alarms from free speech advocates.
The bill from House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA) — H.R. 7690 — would terminate President Biden’s Ministry of Truth by prohibiting the use of taxpayer dollars to create or operate a "Disinformation Governance Board" anywhere within the federal government and specifically ban the use of federal funds to create what critics call a "ministry of truth" within the Department of Homeland Security.
Several Republicans took to the House floor Tuesday night to make the case against the Biden administration's new attempt to police speech.
"The notion that this ill-conceived effort will improve Americans trust in their government is fundamentally absurd, said Rep. John Katko of New York. "In fact, it is just the latest example of how this administration — and specifically leadership in the Department of Homeland Security — remains grossly out of touch with what issues matter most to the American people."
"If the Biden administration was itself a beacon of truth, this board would still be unconstitutional," noted Rep, Mike Johnson of Louisiana. "I do find it noteworthy, however, that those who seem the most preoccupied with censoring Americans and policing disinformation are so often the worse offenders at spreading it."
Rep. Michelle Fischbach of Minnesota called on Congress to "come together to uphold the constitutional principle that the best weapon against speech we don't like is not censure, it's more speech."
"The Department of Homeland Security should be focused on thing," Rep. August Pfluger of Texas reminded his colleagues: "our nation's security." The vote on the bill to bar the establishment or funding for a Disinformation Governance Board, Pfluger said, would put members of Congress on the record to show whether they "stand on the side of free speech or not."
Ultimately, 218 House Democrats took the side opposite free speech and blocked consideration of Leader McCarthy and Republicans' bill.
FLOOR ALERT: @HouseDemocrats blocked @HouseGOP requests to stop the creation of @POTUS' Orwellian Ministry of Truth seeking to influence the flow of info & silence opposing viewpoints. @DHSgov should NOT be used as a political tool against our fundamental right to free speech. pic.twitter.com/uBDDuVKvlf— House Rules Republicans (@RulesReps) May 11, 2022