Topline

Twenty-nine House Republicans including Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) are co-sponsoring a long-shot bill to strip Major League Baseball of antitrust protections over the league’s decision to pull an all-star game from Georgia to protest the state’s new election law.

Key Facts

The two-page bill strips a longstanding and unique exemption the MLB holds that immunizes it from antitrust lawsuits, which would leave them vulnerable to legal risks and alter its business relationships.

The bill is being led in the House by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) and in the Senate by Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).

The bill’s sponsors have made no secret of the fact that the bill is aimed at retaliating against the MLB for protesting the Georgia law, with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) calling the boycott “harmful” and stating “it’s going to hurt baseball” while announcing the bill on Tuesday.

Some House supporters were even more explicit about the retaliatory nature of the bill in statements, with Jordan accusing “Big Sports” of “working tirelessly to ‘cancel’ conservative voices,” and Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) calling the pulled game a “bad call.”

“Georgia will NOT apologize for passing strong election reform laws that require an ID to vote,” Greene said, arguing that MLB stadiums “require an ID to pick up tickets at will call” and claiming the MLB is “becoming a de facto Democrat SuperPAC.”

“Let me be clear, if you go woke, you go broke,” said Boebert, arguing the American public has “lost trust in the MLB, and now this organization must be subject to the same anti-trust laws as everyone else.”

The Georgia bill has been at the center of national controversy, with Democrats taking aim at provisions scaling back mail-in voting as an example of “voter suppression” as Republicans defend the bill by pointing to its expansion of early voting.

Key Background

The MLB bill is part of a broader effort by Republicans to retaliate against companies that speak out against GOP voting laws. Republicans in the Georgia state legislature demanded the removal of Coca Cola products from their office and voted to strip a tax break from Delta over the after the company objected to the law.

Crucial Quote

“If I were running a major corporation, I would stay the hell out of politics,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said last week – a comment he immediately qualified by exempting campaign contributions before walking it back the following day by stating businesses are “certainly entitled to be in politics.”

Surprising Fact

Despite the partisan nature of the bill, there is an outsized chance it could get some bipartisan support. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) raised questions about the exemption in 2019 in response to the MLB’s plan to shutter dozens of minor league teams. Asked about the bill on Tuesday, Sanders told Forbes it’s a “good question” but didn’t stake out a position.

Tangent

Many of the bill’s sponsors were leaders in the effort to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory by objecting to his electoral votes in key states. Cruz and Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) objected to Arizona’s electors, Hawley and Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) objected to Pennsylvania, Greene objected to Michigan and Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and Jody Hice (R-Ga.) objected to Wisconsin and Georgia respectively.

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