Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Senate Commerce Committee plans to hold a subpoena vote to compel testimony from the top executives of Google, Facebook and Twitter for a hearing next month, the panel announced Thursday.

Why it matters: The subpoena threat is the latest move by lawmakers to pare back the tech industry's prized liability shield, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

  • Lawmakers want to hold another hearing on the topic with industry executives as legislative proposals work their way through Congress.

Context: On Wednesday, the Department of Justice unveiled suggested language to amend the law with the backing of the White House and Republican attorneys general.

What's happening: On Oct. 1, the Senate Commerce Committee will vote to authorize subpoenas for Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Google's Sundar Pichai and Twitter's Jack Dorsey.

But, but, but: It's doubtful Democrats will be on board, which puts the outcome of the subpoena vote in flux, though Republicans run the Senate Commerce Committee. On Thursday, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), the committee's ranking Democrat, said in a statement that she would not "participate in an attempt to use the committee’s serious subpoena power for a partisan effort 40 days before an election."

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Tech is learning that everything is politics

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It's one political minefield after another for tech companies this year as the industry faces a rash of concerns including antitrust pressure, rampant misinformation and a pre-election tightening of screws from the Trump administration.

Why it matters: For much of Silicon Valley, politics has, over the past decade, gone from a non-consideration to a nagging occasional distraction to an all-consuming force that threatens some companies' very existence. New products and features, meanwhile, have gone from being all the buzz to largely an afterthought.

Oct 23, 2020 - Technology

The FCC is now ready to fight Section 230

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Federal Communications Commission is making its case this week for why it should go ahead and write rules to curtail tech's broad protections against lawsuits over both moderation decisions and material that internet users post online.

Why it matters: The agency's GOP chairman was a longtime champion of the FCC hewing closely to the powers Congress has explicitly given it and to staying out of rewriting policy beyond its traditional jurisdiction. He now seems to have a very different view of FCC authority.

Pence to continue traveling despite aides testing positive for COVID-19

Marc Short with Pence in March. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force. Pence and second lady Karen Pence tested negative for the virus on Sunday morning, according to the vice president's office.