House approves scaled-down bill targeting Big Tech dominance




  • In World
  • 2022-09-29 19:24:30Z
  • By Associated Press
 

WASHINGTON (AP) - The House on Thursday approved sharply scaled-down legislation targeting the dominance of Big Tech companies by giving states greater power in antitrust cases and increasing money for federal regulators.

The bipartisan measure, passed by a 242-184 vote, pales in comparison with a more ambitious package aimed at reining in Meta, Google, Amazon and Apple and cleared by key House and Senate committees. That proposal has languished for months, giving the companies time for vigorous lobbying campaigns against it.

The more limited bill would give states an upper hand over companies in choosing the location of courts that decide federal antitrust cases. Proponents say this change would avert the "home-court advantage" that Big Tech companies enjoy in federal court in Northern California, where many of the cases are tried and many of the companies are based.

Many state attorneys general have pursued antitrust cases against the industry, and many states joined with the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission in their landmark lawsuits against Google and Meta (then called Facebook), respectively, in late 2020.

The bill also would increase filing fees paid by companies to federal agencies for all proposed mergers worth $500 million or more, while reducing the fees for small and medium-sized transactions. The aim is to increase revenue for federal enforcement efforts.

Under the bill, companies seeking approval for mergers would have to disclose subsidies they received from countries deemed to pose strategic or economic risks to the United States - especially China.

"We find ourselves in a monopoly moment as a country," Rep. Lori Trahan, D-Mass., said before the vote. "Multibillion-dollar corporations have grown into behemoths, eliminating any real competition in their industries and using their dominance to hurt small businesses and consumers. Meta's monopoly power has enabled it to harm women, children and people of all ages without recourse. Amazon has used its dominance to copy competitors' products and run small businesses into the ground."

The Biden administration, which has pushed for antitrust legislation targeting Big Tech, endorsed the bill this week.

Even in reduced form, the legislation drew fierce opposition from conservative Republicans who split from their GOP colleagues supporting the bill. The conservatives objected to the proposed revenue increase for the antitrust regulators, arguing there has been brazen overreach by the FTC under Biden.

Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., described the FTC's leader, Lina Khan, as a "a radical leftist seeking to replace consumer decisions with her own."

Another California Republican, Rep. Darrell Issa, told his colleagues: "If you want to stifle innovation, vote for this."

If Republicans win control of the House or Senate in the November elections, they are certain to try to crimp the activism of the FTC and to challenge its broader interpretation of its legal authority.

The broader antitrust package would restrict powerful tech companies from favoring their own products and services over rivals on their platforms and could even lead to mandated breakups separating companies' dominant platforms from their other businesses. It could, for example, prevent Amazon from steering consumers to its own brands and away from competitors' products on its giant e-commerce platform.

The drafting of that legislation marked a new turn in Congress' effort to curb the dominance of the tech giants and anti-competitive practices that critics say have hurt consumers, small businesses and innovation. But the proposal is complex and drew objections to some provisions from lawmakers of both parties, even though all condemn the tech giants' conduct.

Lawmakers have faced a delicate task as they try to tighten reins around a powerful industry whose services, mostly free or nearly so, are popular with consumers and embedded into daily life.

So with time to act running out as the November elections approach in about six weeks, lawmakers extracted the less controversial provisions on antitrust court venues and merger filing fees, putting them into the new bill that passed.

Lawmakers added the provision targeting foreign subsidies to U.S. companies. Republicans especially have vocally criticized the Chinese ownership of popular video platform TikTok.

In the Senate, Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Chuck Grassley of Iowa came out this week in support of the new House legislation. There hasn't been public discussion of a similar bill in the Senate, however.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Cyber Monday sales still going on: Save at Amazon, Walmart, Nike and more
Cyber Monday sales still going on: Save at Amazon, Walmart, Nike and more

Cyber Monday sales are still going as the week winds down. You can get deep discounts from sales at Amazon, Solo Stove, Walmart, Nike and more.

Save $240 on a best-selling robot vacuum with this Cyber Monday deal at Amazon
Save $240 on a best-selling robot vacuum with this Cyber Monday deal at Amazon

Cyber Monday deals aren't over just yet. You can save $240 on a new Roborock S7 Robot Vacuum deal at Amazon while supplies last.

For Miami lawyer, imprisoned and disbarred decades ago, award caps life of redemption
For Miami lawyer, imprisoned and disbarred decades ago, award caps life of redemption
  • US
  • 2022-12-02 10:30:00Z

On a recent morning in Miami federal court, a man prepared to plead guilty to gun and drug charges. The proceedings were unremarkable, the type of hearing...

Musk drops the bipartisan pose - and Republicans cheer
Musk drops the bipartisan pose - and Republicans cheer

Twitter's new CEO has aligned himself with the GOP and welcomed back far right-wing users as Democratic scrutiny escalates.

Indonesian Startup GoTo is World
Indonesian Startup GoTo is World's Worst Large Size Tech IPO This Year

(Bloomberg) -- GoTo Group's post-IPO stock selloff makes it the worst performer among 11 tech and internet companies that raised more than $500 million in...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: World