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D.C. wants to unfriend Facebook but it will take actual legislation to do it

First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
Image: Facebook Chairman and CEO Zuckerberg testifies at a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington
Mark Zuckerberg testifies at a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington, on October 23, 2019.Erin Scott / Reuters File

WASHINGTON — For years now, both Democrats and Republicans have relied on the courts to settle tough political issues — whether it’s abortion, immigration or Obamacare.

But we’re about to find out what happens when the courts decide not to take action on what appears to be a bipartisan target: regulating the social media giant Facebook.

“The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed the Federal Trade Commission's antitrust complaint against the social media giant, calling it ‘legally insufficient.’ It also dismissed a similar case brought by the attorneys general of 46 states,” NBC’s Dylan Byers reports.

The Washington Post adds that the federal judge questioned “assertions that Facebook is a monopoly."

So if Washington wants to regulate Facebook, it looks like it’s going to have to take legislative action through Congress.

Forget infrastructure. If you want to talk about a truly bipartisan issue — or target — it’s Facebook.

Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational select committee

Yes, Democrats wanted an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

And yes, such a commission would have lessened the politics and focused more on the facts.

But don’t dismiss the political power of the House select committee that Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrats are forming to look into Jan. 6.

After all, even House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy admitted the political power of the GOP’s Benghazi committee, which never found new evidence of any wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton.

“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee," McCarthy said back in 2015. “What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she's untrustable. But no one would have have known any of that had happened had we not fought and made that happen.”

What we’re watching for: Could Pelosi really add Republican Liz Cheney to this committee?

“A Pelosi aide added that she is ‘seriously considering’ appointing a Republican with one of her unilateral picks, which would make the composition of the committee 7-6 Democrats-to-Republicans, as opposed to 8-5,” per NBC News.

“The Republican-controlled Benghazi select committee during the Obama administration was 7-5 Republicans-to-Democrats.”

Biden heads to Wisconsin to sell infrastructure deal

President Biden travels to La Crosse, Wis., to promote the bipartisan infrastructure deal he struck with Republicans last week (and which he worked to save over the weekend).

The speech he’s set to deliver is at 2:00 p.m. ET.

Worth noting: Biden never hit the road this same way to sell the voting-rights legislation that Senate Republicans filibustered last week.

Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

46 percent to 49 percent: The share of Arizona voters who support the state’s audit of the 2020 election, versus those who don’t, according to a new survey from Democratic pollster Fernand Amandi.

11: The official death toll so far in the condo collapse in Surfside, with 150 still unaccounted for.

33,778,206: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 15,831 more than yesterday morning.)

607,507: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far, per the most recent data from NBC News. (That’s 191 more than yesterday morning.)

324,414,371: The number of vaccine doses administered in the U.S.

42.7 percent: The share of all Americans who are fully vaccinated, per NBC News.

57 percent: The share of all American adults over 18 who are fully vaccinated, per CDC.

Tweet of the day

Newsom’s latest hurdle

Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom is favored to defeat the eventual recall election against him.

But he might have to deal with this hurdle: His political party — as of now — won’t be listed on the recall ballot, the Los Angeles Times writes.

“In a state where registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans nearly 2 to 1, the Democratic governor’s name may appear on the recall ballot without a party preference, thanks to a paperwork mistake made more than a year ago. The candidates seeking to replace him in the still-unscheduled election will be listed with their stated party preference.”

The L.A. Times adds that Newsom has filed a lawsuit against California’s secretary of state

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

Police reform negotiations on the Hill may be on the brink of collapse, writes Leigh Ann Caldwell.

U.S. forces in Syria were attacked a day after the U.S. carried out airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against Iran-backed militia groups.

Maricopa County officials say they’ll replace voting equipment that was turned over to private contractors for the audit over security concerns.

Clarence Thomas says federal marijuana laws may no longer be necessary.

A federal judge has thrown out two antitrust cases against Facebook.

The Biden administration is trying to move past its confusing infrastructure rollout.