Josh Hawley is the center of attention, but will any of his tech bills become law?
Tom Struble, a tech policy analyst at the libertarian-leaning R Street Institute in Washington, said Hawley’s bills should be seen as political messaging rather than serious policy proposals.
“I think he’s getting attention for a lot of things that aren’t going to happen… He has done a good job of raising his own public profile,” Struble said.
“Josh Hawley is to Senate Republicans what Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is to House Democrats,” Struble added, comparing Hawley to the freshman New York Democrat who has generated massive media attention but has so far been unable to advance her legislative priorities.
Hawley’s outspoken criticism of the tech industry has enabled him to appeal to the populist Trump movement, but Struble warned that the strategy could backfire on Hawley in the long-term.
“At a certain point, he either has to follow up some of these crazy proposals or back down,” he said.
Struble pointed to a bill Hawley worked on with Sen. Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts, to update the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act as one of the few pieces of Hawley’s tech-related legislation that could actually advance.
Blumenthal has also been working with Struble’s former boss, Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, on tech legislation that is more likely to get leadership’s support when it’s unveiled later this year.