Supporters of antitrust legislation that would rein in the power and reach of Big Tech companies are urging congressional leaders and the White House to work for its passage before the end of the year, now that it has been approved in House and Senate committees in bipartisan votes.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who co-sponsored The American Innovation and Choice Online Act with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., slammed President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for failing to aggressively push for a vote.
“Sen. Schumer and President Biden have had months to get off the sideline and make this bipartisan, bicameral antitrust bill a priority but have chosen not to engage,” Grassley told Fox News.
“The American Innovation and Choice Online Act could have cleared through regular order months ago had leadership scheduled a vote, and we could have avoided it getting caught up in the end-of-year horse trading.”
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Grassley said he and other supporters of the measure will continue working to find “an avenue to pass the bill, but if it doesn’t get done, Democratic leadership will have only themselves to thank.”
Klobuchar also told Fox News she is engaged with colleagues to pass her bill and others before the end of the year.
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“Continually allowing the big tech companies to dominate policy decisions in Washington is no longer a viable option when it comes to the treatment of local news outlets, consumer and privacy rights or competition in online marketplaces,” Klobuchar said. “These are some of the most powerful companies the world has ever known, and they are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to prevent any commonsense reform.
“We must take action.”
The companion bill on the House side also passed out of committee.
“The White House has been clear in its support for this legislation, and Sen. Schumer promised to get it done,” Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., told Fox News this week. “It’s time to hold a vote on this historic, bipartisan legislation and deliver for small businesses, consumers and innovators.”
Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., told Fox News Apple CEO Tim Cook’s recent trip to Washington “shows that Big Tech is desperate to stop any effort to curtail their market dominance.”
“Congress is at a pivotal crossroads and has a historic opportunity to pass bipartisan antitrust legislation before the end of the year if Sen. Schumer and Speaker Pelosi are willing to call a vote,” Buck said.
The legislation is aimed at preventing dominant digital platforms from favoring their own products and services. Supporters say the status quo hurts small businesses, stifles innovation and limits consumer choice.
A White House spokesperson told Fox News the White House continues “to work closely with the sponsors of tech antitrust legislation.”
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“Promoting competition — including in the tech sector — is a core part of the president’s economic agenda,” the White House spokesperson told Fox News. “The president has long called for fundamental legislative reforms to address these issues, including tech antitrust legislation.
“There is bipartisan support for tech antitrust legislation, and we hope Congress acts.”
U.S. antitrust laws haven’t been updated significantly in almost 100 years.
The American Innovation and Choice Online Act is just one of several bipartisan measures awaiting consideration on both the Senate and House floors this Congress.
One bill focuses on data portability and interoperability and would require online platforms to create interfaces to let users easily move their data to other services. Another would prohibit many of the tech giants from “self-preferencing” or favoring their own products. A third bill would increase the filing fees paid to the antitrust agencies for merger reviews.
Neither Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., nor House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., immediately responded to Fox News’ request for comment on whether they would bring antitrust bills to the floor for a vote before the end of the year.
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