Hillicon Valley: House Dems include $3.6 billion for mail-in voting in stimulus bill | Uber in discussions to acquire GrubHub | Trump backs effort to reopen California Tesla plant

Hillicon Valley: House Dems include $3.6 billion for mail-in voting in stimulus bill | Uber in discussions to acquire GrubHub | Trump backs effort to reopen California Tesla plant

Welcome to Hillicon Valley, The Hill's newsletter detailing all you need to know about the tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. If you don’t already, be sure to sign up for our newsletter with this LINK.

Welcome! Follow our cyber reporter, Maggie Miller (@magmill95), and tech reporter, Chris Mills Rodrigo (@chrisismills), for more coverage.

SHOW STATES THE MONEY: House Democrats have included $3.6 billion in election funding as part of the $3 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill they rolled out on Tuesday.

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The funding is meant to help states address new challenges posed by holding elections during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as expanding mail-in and early in-person voting.

At least 50 percent of the funds would be required to go to local governments to help administer elections, and states would have until late next year to access the funds. 

The House is expected to vote on the stimulus package on Friday, but GOP senators have declared the bill "dead on arrival" and the outlook for any election funds passing in the Republican-led upper chamber remains unclear.

Senate Republicans have broadly pushed back on calls to immediately approve more stimulus money, saying lawmakers should weigh the impact of the trillions in spending already approved by Congress.

Previous election funds: The coronavirus stimulus package signed into law by President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump second-term plans remain a mystery to GOP Trump to hold outdoor rally in New Hampshire on Saturday Eighty-eight years of debt pieties MORE in March included $400 million for elections. Democrats have pushed for a total of $4 billion to be allocated for elections, with the addition of the new funds proposed Tuesday totaling to this amount. 

State officials on both sides of the aisle have supported Congress sending more election funds in recent months, as states increasingly face the threat of bankruptcy from the coronavirus crisis.

House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiRussian bounties revive Trump-GOP foreign policy divide On The Money: Breaking down the June jobs report | The biggest threats facing the recovery | What will the next stimulus bill include? Military bases should not be renamed, we must move forward in the spirit of reconciliation MORE (D-Calif.) has consistently supported vote-by-mail funding, along with political figures including former first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaDemocrats debate Biden effort to expand map against Trump Michelle Obama presents Beyoncé with Humanitarian Award at BET Awards: 'You inspire all of us' Voting by mail is now a necessity during COVID-19 MORE and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSusan Rice sees stock rise in Biden VP race The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden chips away at Trump's fundraising advantage Warnock raises almost M in Georgia Senate race in second quarter MORE (D-Mass.). 

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Read more about the potential funds here. 

 

MEAL DELIVERY MERGER: Uber is in discussions to acquire GrubHub in a deal that would consolidate two of the biggest players in the meal delivery business, Bloomberg News reported Tuesday.

The ride-sharing giant, which operates Uber Eats, has reportedly already made an offer and Bloomberg reported that the deal could be completed before the end of May.

The deal would reportedly be an all-stock takeover that would see GrubHub absorbed into Uber's operations.

The Hill has reached out to Uber for comment on the reports. GrubHub declined to comment.

DoorDash is the country's current food delivery leader, with a 35 percent market share, according to a report from October 2019.

Huge share of the market: However, GrubHub, with 30 percent, and Uber Eats, with roughly 20 percent, aren't far behind.

Combining the two would comfortably make Uber the largest food delivery company, giving it a huge advantage over its competitors.

Read more about the pending merger here. 

 

TRUMP BACKS MUSK: President Trump on Tuesday threw his weight behind Elon MuskElon Reeve MuskNASA, China and the UAE are scheduled to send missions to Mars in July Kanye tweets he's running for president How competition will make the new space race flourish MORE's push to reopen a California Tesla plant in violation of a county order aimed at containing the spread of coronavirus. 

"California should let Tesla & @elonmusk open the plant, NOW," the president tweeted. "It can be done Fast & Safely!" 

Musk, the CEO of Tesla, announced on Monday that he would reopen the electric vehicle maker's plant in Fremont, Calif., inviting authorities to arrest him for doing so.

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The factory has been shut down since March 23, shortly after California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomRand Paul's exchange with Fauci was exactly what America needed California goes from COVID-19 success story to cautionary tale The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Rep. Rodney Davis says most important thing White House can do on COVID-19 is give consistent messaging; US new cases surpass 50k for first time MORE (D) issued a statewide stay-at-home order.

Last week, Newsom announced new guidance allowing some factories to reopen, but said counties could continue imposing limitations.

Alameda County chose to keep the plant shuttered, with local officials saying they were negotiating with Tesla.

On May 9, Tesla's attorneys filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction against Alameda County's stay-at-home order.

Read more about the dispute here. 

 

TECH BILLS IN THE PIPELINE: Key Republicans members of the House Energy and Commerce committee introduced a raft of legislation Tuesday on emerging technologies.

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Full committee ranking member Rep. Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenRepublicans are working to close the digital divide Fauci gives Congress COVID-19 warning Fauci: We need more testing, not less MORE (R-Ore.) and consumer protection subcommittee ranking member Rep. Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersGOP lawmakers voice support for Israeli plan to annex areas in West Bank Trio of GOP lawmakers asks Zoom to clarify China ties after it suspends accounts Bipartisan senators call for investigation of TikTok's child privacy policies MORE (R-Wash.) unveiled a total of 15 bills, primarily focused on countering Chinese dominance in the tech sphere and boosting American companies.

“Now more than ever, we must create policies that ensure America beats China over the next decade and beyond by fostering innovation, securing supply chains, and protecting consumers," the lawmakers said in a statement.

"These pillars of our legislative agenda unleash free-market ingenuity to spur American leadership and economic growth in the next generation of technology that will define our future."

Read more about the new bills here. 

 

WORK’S OUT FOREVER:  Twitter employees were informed Tuesday that some job positions would be able to permanently work from home even after coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

The companywide announcement from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey added that jobs requiring physical work such as server maintenance would still require employees to be present, BuzzFeed News reported.

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"We've been very thoughtful in how we've approached this from the time we were one of the first companies to move to a work-from-home model," a representative for Twitter told BuzzFeed. "We'll continue to be, and we'll continue to put the safety of our people and communities first."

Twitter called for all employees to begin working from home in March as a step to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Jennifer Christie, the company's head of human resources, says it will "never probably be the same," according to BuzzFeed.

Read more about the new work policy here. 

 

STATE OFFICIALS WANT DETAILS: A group of state attorneys general on Tuesday asked Amazon for data on coronavirus infections and deaths among the retail giant’s workforce.

The letter, led by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D), also called on Amazon and Whole Foods to produce a detailed accounting of their health and safety precautions as well as to document their compliance with local and state paid sick leave laws.

Healey and fellow state law enforcement officials cited reports earlier this year alleging retaliation against workers for calling attention to unsafe conditions. One such worker, Christian Smalls, has said he was fired from Amazon’s Staten Island, N.Y., warehouse in late March after organizing a walkout. Amazon denies Smalls’s firing was retaliatory and said he disobeyed instructions to self-quarantine.

Other signatories of the letter include representatives of the attorney general’s offices in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington state and Washington, D.C. It follows a March 25 letter from a similar coalition of states asking for Amazon and Whole Foods to improve their paid-leave policies.

“Amazon and Whole Foods must take every possible step to protect their employees and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Healey said in a statement. “We again call on these companies to provide assurances that they are complying with state laws and federal guidance aimed at keeping essential workers safe during this crisis.”

Read more here. 

 

ONLINE HATE SPEECH INCREASES: Social media giant Facebook on Tuesday released its biannual Community Standards Enforcement Report, which showed an uptick in posts removed for promoting hate speech and violence.

On the main Facebook site, the company said that it removed 9.6 million pieces of content that contained hate speech in the first quarter of 2020, up from 5.7 million during the fourth quarter of 2019.

Facebook removed around 4.7 million pieces of content originating from organized hate groups in the first months of 2020, an increase of more than 3 million from the last quarter of 2019.

While the amount of problematic content increased, the company said that it increased its "proactive detection rate" for both Facebook and Instagram.

"We increased our proactive detection rate for organized hate, the percentage of content we remove that we detect before someone reports it to us, from 89.6% in Q4 2019 to 96.7% in Q1 2020," Facebook said in a statement about the report.

"We saw similar progress on Instagram where our proactive detection rate increased from 57.6% to 68.9%, and we removed 175,000 pieces of content in Q1 2020, up from 139,800 the previous quarter," the company said.

Read more about the new data here. 

 

Lighter click: Pick your battles

An op-ed to chew on: Lessons from 9/11 can help build better content tracing app

NOTABLE LINKS FROM AROUND THE WEB: 

FBI, DHS go public with suspected North Korean hacking tools (CyberScoop / Shannon Vavra) 

TikTok under investigation in Colombia over alleged child privacy violations (Bloomberg Law / Lucien Chauvin) 

This was supposed to be the year driverless cars went mainstream (The New York Times / Cade Metz and Erin Griffith) 

The giants of the video game industry have thrived in the pandemic. Can the success continue? (The Washington Post / Noah Smith)