PROBING THE PGA TOUR & LIV GOLF AGREEMENT
— U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chair of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI), demanded communications and records from PGA Tour and LIV Golf regarding their planned merger.
On June 6, 2023, PGA Tour announced that it had reached an agreement to combine its commercial businesses with LIV Golf, which is owned by the Saudi Arabian government’s Public Investment Fund, raising concerns “about the Saudi government’s role in influencing this effort and the risks posed by a foreign government entity assuming control over a cherished American institution.”
In letters to both PGA Tour and LIV Golf, Chair Blumenthal noted Saudi Arabia’s “deeply disturbing human rights record at home and abroad” and its stated intention to “use investments in sports to further the Saudi government’s strategic objectives.”
Chair Blumenthal is demanding information regarding how PGA Tour came to an agreement concerning LIV Golf and how any newly formed entity will be structured and operated, including how PGA Tour intends to preserve its tax-exempt status.
PREVENTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING ON RIDE-HAILING APPS
— Following a recent announcement that Uber will allow minors to request rides and travel without an accompanying adult, Blumenthal and U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), and Josh Hawley (R-MO) called on ride-hailing apps Uber and Lyft to take additional steps to prevent their services from being used to transport victims of human trafficking.
Reports from survivors, advocates, and local law enforcement agencies indicate that apps like Uber and Lyft are increasingly used as vehicles for exploitation. In letters to the CEOs of both companies, the senators wrote, “we are concerned that the measures taken to date are insufficient to address trafficking on the company’s ride-hailing service.”
The bipartisan group of senators is seeking additional information about what steps each company is taking to combat trafficking on its app, including what kind of training and resources are available for drivers to recognize and respond to trafficking.
Blumenthal also discussed the letters at an event in Connecticut with advocates, local law enforcement and the Chief State’s Attorney’s Office.
“Rideshare drivers are often the last ones to see a victim of human trafficking—because the traffickers increasingly rely on Uber & Lyft. I am demanding that these companies provide training & resources to drivers to help report & stop this heinous exploitation.”
INCREASING TRANSPARENCY AROUND HIDDEN JUNK FEES
— Blumenthal released the following statement after Live Nation Entertainment, the parent company of Ticketmaster, and SeatGeek announced they will begin showing consumers the full price of tickets and fees up front:
“Live Nation-Ticketmaster’s announcement is a step in the right direction, but no substitute for legislation to provide consumers with transparency and prevent companies from imposing ridiculous junk fees. Rather than a voluntary patchwork varying by company, Americans deserve a basic disclosure standard so they can be fully aware of the prices and fees they’re being charged. The days of padding corporate profits by nickel and diming consumers are numbered. We need the Junk Fee Prevention Act to address the price gouging and hidden costs – not just for concerts and sporting events, but for airlines, hotels, and other services.”
In March, Blumenthal introduced the Junk Fee Prevention Act to eliminate excessive, hidden, and unnecessary fees imposed on consumers and require full prices of services be provided upfront ensuring transparency in the ticketing, hotel, and entertainment industries. Blumenthal is also the lead Senate co-sponsor of the BOSS Act, which would provide transparency and regulation to the primary and second live events ticket marketplace.
DENYING AI COMPANIES SECTION 230 IMMUNITY
— Blumenthal and U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO), Chair and Ranking of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law, respectively – introduced the No Section 230 Immunity for AI Act. This new bipartisan legislation would clarify that Section 230 immunity will not apply to claims based on generative AI, ensuring consumers have the tools they need to protect themselves from harmful content produced by the latest advancements in AI technology.
For example, AI-generated “deepfakes” – lifelike false images of real individuals – are exploding in popularity. Ordinary people can now suffer life-destroying consequences for saying things they never said, or doing things they never would. Companies complicit in this process should be held accountable in court.
“AI companies should be forced to take responsibility for business decisions as they’re developing products—without any Section 230 legal shield,” said Blumenthal. “This legislation is the first step in our effort to write the rules of AI and establish safeguards as we enter this new era. AI platform accountability is a key principle of a framework for regulation that targets risk and protects the public.”
ADDRESSING AMERICA’S GUN VIOLENCE EPIDEMIC
— Blumenthal joined U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), GIFFORDS, and Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots networks Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action in hosting President Joe Biden, elected leaders, Biden-Harris Administration officials, survivors of gun violence and hundreds of gun safety advocates in Hartford, Connecticut for the National Safer Communities Summit to celebrate the first anniversary of the passage of The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA).
— Blumenthal and Murphy introduced the Resources for Victims of Gun Violence Act to help all victims of gun violence—from survivors to their loved ones, coworkers, and classmates—identify and access the resources available to them to help meet medical, legal, financial, and other needs. The bill would establish an interagency Advisory Council to help victims navigate and use these resources, streamlining what can be a complex process in a nation of gun violence survivors. More than 110 people die by guns every day, and more than 200 are shot and injured.
“Confronting tragedy and despair, all who suffer gun violence need more help and support— whether they’re individual survivors, grieving families or broken communities. This measure will enable healing and recovery for countless victims and survivors who lack access to necessary resources. Addressing trauma and tragedy right away can be critical, which means access to aid must be streamlined, as we seek here,” said Blumenthal.
— Blumenthal attended a gun buyback in Bridgeport.
“Bridgeport police & volunteers leading a gun buyback—enabling people region-wide to make their homes safer by exchanging unwanted firearms for compensation.”
EXPANDING VETERANS’ ACCESS TO DENTAL CARE
— Blumenthal, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and U.S. Representative Julia Brownley (D-CA) joined their colleagues in introducing the Improving Whole Health for Veterans with Chronic Conditions Act, legislation that would establish a new pilot program to provide comprehensive dental care to veterans diagnosed with diabetes and ischemic heart disease. Funded for four years, the program would also study the health outcomes and cost effectiveness of such care, as well as provide loan reimbursement opportunities for qualified dental care professionals who agree to serve for the duration of the pilot at a VA dental clinic deemed high need.
“Denying dental care to veterans most vulnerable to dental problems makes no sense. This legislation would guarantee such care to veterans with diabetes and heart disease – chronic conditions that put them most at-risk,” said Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “Expanding care means investing in our veterans’ health and wellbeing. I’m proud to join my colleagues in this legislation.”
BOOSTING COMPETITION IN ONLINE PLATFORMS
— Blumenthal joined U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) in reintroducing the American Innovation and Choice Online Act. This bipartisan legislation would restore competition online by establishing common sense rules of the road for dominant digital platforms to prevent them from abusing their market power to hurt competition, online businesses, and consumers.
“Big Tech’s self-serving market manipulation hurts consumers, workers, and online business. Tech giants use their vast market dominance to unfairly boost their own products and services—and to disadvantage competitors. I’m proud to back this bipartisan bill to level the playing field, ensuring smaller competitors have a fighting chance and consumers have more options at fairer prices.” said Blumenthal.
KEEPING AM RADIO IN CARS
— Blumenthal joined local AM radio station owners to announce new bipartisan and bicameral legislation that would direct federal regulators to require automakers to maintain AM broadcast radio in their new vehicles at no additional charge.
“Auto manufacturers must be stopped from removing AM radio from electric vehicles & other new cars. It’s a lynchpin for communications—emergencies, weather, news, entertainment. I’m helping to lead the bipartisan AM For Every Vehicle Act.”
Many automakers like Volkswagen, BMW, Tesla, Ford and Mazda are removing AM radio from their cars because electric engines can potentially interfere with the sound. The AM for Every Vehicle Act, led by U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey and co-sponsored by Blumenthal, would direct the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to issue a rule that requires automakers to maintain AM broadcast radio in their vehicles without a separate or additional payment, fee, or surcharge.
AM radio has long shaped American life and is still listened to be 82 million Americans—mostly in vehicles. AM radio is still an important source of news and information, including extreme weather alerts and crucial emergency information.
CODIFYING THE RIGHT TO CONTRACEPTION
— Blumenthal joined Markey, Hirono, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Representative Kathy Manning (D-NC) in announcing the reintroduction of the Right to Contraception Act, legislation that would codify and strengthen the right to contraception, which the Supreme Court first recognized more than half a century ago in its Griswold v. Connecticut decision. Enshrining the right to contraception into federal law would reverse steps already taken by Republicans in states across the country to restrict access to contraceptives and ensure that any future attempt by the far-right majority on the Supreme Court to overturn Griswold would not endanger access to this essential health care.
MONITORING IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAM
— Blumenthal joined Graham and U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) in introducing the Iranian Enrichment Monitoring Act of 2023. The bill would require the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to notify Congress within 48 hours if Iran has produced or possesses any amount of highly enriched uranium greater than 60 percent purity. This new 48-hour notification requirement would greatly decrease the amount of time Iran would have to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon without Congressional awareness.
“Preventing a nuclear-armed Iran is critical to protecting our national security and the safety of our allies in the region and around the world. Monitoring Iran’s nuclear program and requiring Congress to be notified of significant enrichment activity will ensure our nation is fully aware of their capabilities. With proper safeguards and intelligence, we can be prepared to address the risks and dangers that may arise from Iran’s potential development of a nuclear weapon,” said Blumenthal.
ENDING ECONOMIC RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
— Blumenthal joined U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) and U.S. Representatives Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Glenn Ivey (D-MD) in introducing the Economic Inclusion Civil Rights Act, legislation to protect individuals from racial discrimination and foster economic inclusion. The Economic Inclusion Civil Rights Act restores and strengthens Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, addressing the erosion of Section 1981's original guarantees by adopting a motivation test, allowing for disparate impact claims, and expanding protection to a broader array of economic activity.
“The Economic Inclusion Civil Rights Act will help restore the unrealized promise of an economy in which all Americans have full, equal opportunity, free from racial discrimination,” said Blumenthal. “In the wake of the Civil War, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866 to guarantee that all Americans had the same rights to enter into contracts – but decades of bad court decisions have blocked Black Americans and other racial minorities from relying on this law to hold companies accountable for violations of their civil rights.”
BANNING HORSE SLAUGHTER
— Blumenthal joined Menendez and Graham in introducing the bipartisan Save America’s Forgotten Equines (SAFE) Act, legislation that would permanently ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption. The bill would also prohibit the export of live horses to Mexican and Canadian slaughterhouses to be sold overseas.
“Horses simply should never be slaughtered for humans to eat. These cherished, iconic animals should be protected, not butchered and shipped abroad for profit,” said Blumenthal. “Our measure ends this despicable practice and prioritizes the welfare and safety of these animals. We can and must protect our nation’s horses.”
SUPPORTING OUR ALLIES IN UKRAINE
— Blumenthal met with the Ukrainian American Veterans of Connecticut.
“Fantastic to meet with the Ukrainian American Veterans of CT today in my DC office. Their bravery & unwavering conviction is deeply inspiring. I’m proud to champion their support for wounded Ukrainian soldiers. Slava Ukraine!”
— Blumenthal joined Homes for the Brave for a groundbreaking ceremony for their new expansion, which includes a new elevator and private rooms for residents. The expansion will allow Homes for the Brave to serve more veterans in need of housing, vocational training and life skills coaching.
“This exciting groundbreaking will lead to sweeping multi-million dollar renovations & new services at Homes For The Brave. It means keeping faith with veterans.”
— Blumenthal attended the Bridgeport Juneteenth Parade.
“Proud to join Congressman Himes & friends with a raucous, rollicking crowd for Bridgeport’s Juneteenth Parade. A beautiful day at Seaside Park!”
— Blumenthal attended the Catherine Violet Hubbard Sanctuary Butterfly party.
“So grateful to be part of the amazing Catherine Violet Hubbard Sanctuary Butterfly Party along with more than 10,000 others in Newtown. Thank you Jenny Hubbard & your magnificent team for this spectacular celebration.”
— Blumenthal attended Norwalk Pride.
“Norwalk Pride in the Park drew huge crowds under sun filled skies for fun filled entertainment. Hosting was Triangle Community Center—thank you!—which does such wonderful work.”