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Rupert Murdoch in 2012. Photo: Arthur Edwards/News International via Getty Images

Lobbyists for Rupert Murdoch's media companies are appealing to House Republicans to support antitrust bills meant to restrain Big Tech companies, sources tell Axios.

The big picture: Murdoch's media businesses have aggressively positioned themselves in opposition to the power of tech companies like Facebook and Google.

Between the lines: The antitrust bills, at least five of which are expected to be formally introduced soon, have been spearheaded by Democratic leadership on the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee.

  • Fox Corp. and News Corp. lobbyists have been urging GOP members to support the bills this week, according to people familiar with the efforts, with two sources saying there could be as many as 3 to 4 GOP co-sponsors on each bill. Talks are ongoing and could shift before the bills get introduced.

Yes, but: Jim Jordan, the Ohio Republican who is ranking member of the Judiciary committee, may be a holdout.

  • Jordan's office has previously said the congressman is wary of Democrats' approach to antitrust.

Context: Historically, conservatives have been hostile to strong antitrust enforcement. But in the Trump era many Republicans, angered over what they saw as censorship by social media platforms, warmed to the idea of going after the tech giants.

By the numbers: Senate lobbying disclosures show News Corp. lobbied on competition issues in the first quarter of 2021, when it spent a total of $150,000 on all lobbying. Fox Corp., which spent $950,000 in the first quarter of 2021, lobbied on issues including Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

Flashback: This is not the first time News Corp. has thrown its weight behind regulations aimed at tech companies. In Australia, Google and Facebook were forced to strike a deal with News Corp. to pay for content after aggressive lobbying from the newspaper giant.

Go deeper

Lawmakers ready antitrust bills to take on Big Tech

In this screenshot taken from a congress.gov webcast, House Impeachment manager Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) speaks on the fifth day of former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial at the U.S. Capitol on February 13 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Handout/Getty Images

Drafts of bills about tech competition and antitrust, likely to be introduced by leaders of the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee soon, are circulating among Washington policy circles.

Why it matters: When the bills are formally introduced, it will be the next step in the subcommittee's antitrust investigation, which last year resulted in a sweeping report (along with a separate report from ranking antitrust member Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado) recommending changes to antitrust law to better keep up with the digital age.

Biden calls on Congress to extend eviction moratorium as deadline looms

Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

President Biden called on Congress on Thursday to extend the CDC's national eviction moratorium due to the threat of the Delta variant, after the Supreme Court ruled that the administration couldn't extend it past July 31 without specific legislation.

Why it matters: Millions of tenants across the country face the threat of eviction in the coming days. The moratorium was first implemented in September 2020 and extended several times to prevent a wave of evictions caused by pandemic-related economic decline.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

The mental health deal boom

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The positive social media response to Simone Biles withdrawing from Olympic competition highlights how the artificial line between health care and mental health care is finally beginning to dissolve. And startup investors have taken notice.

By the numbers: Venture capital investments in mental health startups rose 72.6% between Q1 2020 and Q1 2021, per CB Insights.