The rush to pass Big Tech antitrust legislation started as a bipartisan effort. However, Senator Amy Klobuchar is losing Republican support because of her actions.
Initial support for her bill came from Republicans such as Chuck Grassley (R.Iowa), and John Kennedy (R.Louisiana), but they have reportedly been backing off it, and the latter might want to walk away completely.
The Wall Street Journal and elsewhere have warned Republicans that they are falling into a trap. Klobuchar appears ready to spring it while she attempts to make the bill more appealing to Democratic Senates Big Tech’s primary home.
California Sens. Both Democrats Dianne Feinstein, Alex Padilla, and the Senate Judiciary Committee supported the most prominent tech antitrust bill last month but required significant changes to ensure their support on the Senate Floor.
The American Innovation and Choice Online Act would ban the largest technology companies from encouraging their products to be more popular than those of their competitors.
Companies that strongly oppose the bill have spent millions of dollars to combat it. They argue that it would compromise the privacy and security of consumers and make it difficult for them to offer popular products such as search and map apps.
The Democrats’ bill is just one of several major pieces of legislation that both chambers have that would help tech companies.
The same committee will also consider a companion Senate bill that prohibits companies from giving preference in app stores to their own products. This bill will be presented later this week. The House also has a group of regulatory bills that would make it easier for tech companies to be disintegrated.
Klobuchar will struggle to get 60 votes by ramming through the bill, and then trying to reduce its impact to please the Senators from California. If Klobuchar decides to ditch her bipartisan allies in favor of the insanely partisan coworkers who are more motivated to keep the companies in their state happy, she’ll be unable to reach 60 votes.
This bill wasn’t even great. There are many problems with this bill. This bill creates many new regulations that don’t exist. This forces companies not to promote their apps over those of competitors. This is an excellent idea. It allows for suspicious apps and services to be more prominent, in practice. Many of these apps and services claim to offer a product or service but only collect personal and financial information.
It also contains a provision that allows for a maximum 15% seizure of US revenue by a company during violation periods. This goes directly to the Treasury and does not reimburse “victims of antitrust” practices.
Regulating and increasing government control won’t solve the problem of big tech. Some Republicans seem to be catching up, however. Technocratic Democrats that want to control these Big Tech companies rather than make the market better will be disappointed if Kennedy and Grassley are talking about leaving.
There could be more. Robert Bork, Jr. wrote a harsh piece about Sen. Ted Cruz’s support for the bill.
Klobuchar’s bill would allow the state to pursue social media companies for dozens of vague offenses. There is no doubt that Silicon Valley’s barons would be more vigilant than ever to please Washington’s progressive regulators once they are subject to Washington’s keelhauled at any time. As regulation becomes ownership, Klobuchar’s bill would consider these businesses social property that can be managed politically.
It also states that Big Tech companies must “interoperate” with other companies and share their data. The current text would allow Chinese companies to have access to all the infrastructure, proprietary software, platforms, and hardware of American companies. They would also have the right to access personal data for tens of thousands of Americans. This glaring flaw in Klobuchar’s bill was not corrected in committee, despite an attempt to correct it.
Senator Cruz stated that the bill must be amended to reduce tech censorship during the hearing before he will vote for it again.
Cruz could try, but it will come down to voting for the bill. Based on the contents of the bill, Cruz could be next to that train and leave Klobuchar in greater trouble than ever before.
This is where the situation stands now. Klobuchar doesn’t want to show any deference to the Republicans. She wants to win, and she is determined to pass this problematic bill. She is losing the bipartisan votes she needs in her attempt to rally her party. She is not getting the votes she deserves. Republicans shouldn’t vote for this, after all.