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United States Privacy Digest | Notes from the IAPP, Sept. 23, 2022 Related reading: Notes from the IAPP, Sept. 16, 2022

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Greetings from Portsmouth, New Hampshire!

Many have arrived at the realization that the current framework of the proposed American Data Privacy and Protection Act won't appease leadership in both chambers of U.S. Congress for one reason or another. This reality spurred conversations around amending the bill, particularly much-debated provisions on preemption and the private right of action, to re-establish bipartisanship and move forward.

But what if a shift in the political landscape were to throw the ADPPA a lifeline? A congressional shakeup is imminent with U.S. elections Nov. 8 expected to deliver some fashion of a Republican majority to the House. Republicans are planning for that power shift with leaked information showing policy priorities, including privacy and children's online safety, once the party takes the House.

It's an intriguing concept that's been mostly overlooked. Bipartisanship in the House is stymied by Democrats' reluctance, mostly on the part of the California delegation, to move forward with preemption. House Republicans are very much up on preemption, made clear with comments House Committee on Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., made in response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announcing her opposition to the ADPPA's preemption model.

"I have been clear for years now that federal preemption is essential in order to protect all Americans no matter where they live. Creating one national standard is necessary to achieving that goal," McMorris Rodgers said.

So in a perfect world, McMorris Rodgers and fellow Republicans working on the bill will use their new majority status to implore a Republican House Speaker to bring this current version of the bill, which a majority of Democrats support, to the floor. Quite the potential turnaround from the current state of affairs in the House, but changing leadership and passing the ADPPA through the House doesn't resolve issues in the Senate, where Democrats could retain control and uphold their own discrepancies with the proposal.

There's also post-election potential for brokering an agreement between chambers to move forward with Children's Online Privacy Protection Act updates, which are awaiting a Senate floor vote and expected to be scrutinized in the House due to the Senate's lack of appetite for the ADPPA. But if House Republicans are as keen to act on children's privacy as they say they are, a path forward could materialize if they are dictating the discussions and carry more leverage than they have previously.

So while getting the policy right is crucial, the fate and relevance of the ADPPA may hinge more on which lawmakers are steering the legislative process.

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