GOP senators plan to vote to defund federal government online game platforms
Senate Republicans are poised to move ahead with a plan to end the federal government’s online games platforms.
The legislation, introduced Wednesday by Sens.
Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Jeff Flake (R, AZ), would defund a number of gaming companies that have provided online services, including Valve, Blizzard, Ubisoft and Epic Games.
Republicans also want to end support for online game development programs.
They argue that it would be unfair to subsidize the costs of the games companies and would allow them to remain in business even as Congress defunds the funding.
But they haven’t been able to find enough votes in the Senate to pass the legislation.
“I don’t think there’s a good way to do it that doesn’t create a massive amount of regulatory headaches,” Toomeysaid.
“This bill is designed to do exactly that.”
ToomeY, Flake voted against the Stop Online Piracy Act in May.
The Republican senator said he would support a resolution calling for the government shutdown.
Flake has said that the bill would help keep the government open, but his office has not responded to requests for comment.
The GOP bill would also end federal support for state-based digital storefronts, including Steam and Origin.
The online storefronts are largely used by gamers and developers to access games, and the House is currently working on a similar bill to fund the states.
“It’s not clear that the states will be able to do this in a bipartisan way,” Toomesaid.
The House bill would only affect Valve and Blizzard, and would not apply to companies like Microsoft, Sony or EA.
But it would still be problematic, as it could make it harder for those companies to continue to offer online services and to offer games to the public.
In order to block the funding of those companies, the Senate would have to pass a bill that also defunds online game programming and support for game development.
If the Senate passes that measure, the House would have 60 days to take up the legislation, and if the bill passes in the House, it would need to pass in the U.S. Senate to be sent to the president for his signature.
Flake said that he would vote for the legislation if it passed the Senate and that he has asked the president to help pass it.
Toomeies support of the legislation comes after a report released by the Pew Research Center last week found that 64 percent of gamers surveyed said they would use online services if they had to.
The report also found that 51 percent of respondents said they had played at least a few games online in the past month.
Toomes bill has the support of other Republican senators, including Sen. Ron Johnson (R., WI), who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
But he has yet to announce his support for the bill.
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