House Lawmakers Release Series of Bills Aimed at Taking on Big Tech’s Monopoly Power
WASHINGTON – Rep. Ken Buck (CO-04) and Rep. David Cicilline (RI-01), Ranking Member and Chairman, respectively, of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law, announced a series of bipartisan antitrust bills to expand opportunities for consumers and small business owners by holding unregulated Big Tech monopolies accountable for anti-competitive conduct and censorship of speech.
“Big Tech has abused its dominance in the marketplace to crush competitors, censor speech, and control how we see and understand the world,” said Rep Buck. “Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google have prioritized power over innovation and harmed American businesses and consumers in the process. These companies have maintained monopoly power in the online marketplace by using a variety of anticompetitive behaviors to stifle competition. This legislation breaks up Big Tech’s monopoly power to control what Americans see and say online and fosters an online market that encourages innovation and provides American small businesses with a fair playing field. Doing nothing is not an option, we must act now.”
“A Stronger Online Economy: Opportunity, Innovation, and Choice” is the most aggressive, bipartisan effort in the last century to strengthen America’s antitrust laws. The agenda consists of five bipartisan bills drafted by lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law, who completed a 16-month investigation last year into the state of competition in the digital marketplace and the unregulated power wielded by Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.
The “American Innovation and Choice Online Act” prohibits discriminatory conduct by dominant platforms, including a ban on self-preferencing and picking winners and losers online. The bill is sponsored by Chairman Cicilline and co-sponsored by Rep. Ken Buck (CO-04), Rep. Madison Cawthorn (NC-11), and Rep. Lance Gooden (TX-05).
The “Platform Competition and Opportunity Act” prohibits acquisitions of competitive threats by dominant platforms, as well acquisitions that expand or entrench the market power of online platforms. The bill is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08) and co-sponsored by Rep. Ken Buck (CO-04), Rep. Matt Gaetz (FL-01), Rep. Madison Cawthorn (NC-11), and Rep. Lance Gooden (TX-05).
The “Ending Platform Monopolies Act” eliminates the ability of dominant platforms to leverage their control across multiple business lines to self-preference and disadvantage competitors in ways that undermine free and fair competition. The bill is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and co-sponsored by Rep. Ken Buck (CO-04), Rep. Madison Cawthorn (NC-11), and Rep. Lance Gooden (TX-05).
The “Augmenting Compatibility and Competition by Enabling Service Switching (ACCESS) Act” promotes competition online by lowering barriers to entry and switching costs for businesses and consumers through interoperability and data portability requirements. This bill is sponsored by Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05) and co-sponsored by Rep. Ken Buck (CO-04), Rep. Burgess Owens (UT-04), Rep. Madison Cawthorn (NC-11), and Rep. Lance Gooden (TX-05).
The “Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act” updates filing fees for mergers for the first time in two decades to ensure that the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission have the resources they need to aggressively enforce the antitrust laws. This bill is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse (CO-02) and co-sponsored by Rep. Ken Buck (CO-04), Rep. Victoria Spartz (IN-05), Rep. Chip Roy (TX-21), Rep. Madison Cawthorn (NC-11), and Rep. Lance Gooden (TX-05).
“I’m grateful for my colleagues’ support of this critical legislation and for standing up to Big Tech,” said Rep. Buck.
Rep. Madison Cawthorn said:
“Breaking up the monopoly held by large multinational tech corporations represents one of the most daunting challenges facing our nation. For too long, large, oligarchical corporations have feasted on the data and personal information of millions of Americans. It is time to fix this problem at its source, with comprehensive legislation that places the interests of Americans over the interests of mega-corporations and their tasseled loafer lobbyists. I am proud to join my colleagues in supporting these bills, as we fight to remove power from the hands of America’s big-tech oligarchy and place it back where it belongs: in the hands of the people.”
Rep. Lance Gooden said:
“Big tech has routinely suppressed conservative voices and violated consumers’ privacy. We must rein in their destructive behavior and preserve the constitutional rights of all Americans.”
Rep. Burgess Owens said:
“There’s little question that Big Tech platforms are powered by massive troves of user data, over which consumers lack significant control. Americans deserve to have more ownership over their personal information with the ability to seamlessly transfer that data between platforms of their choice. I'm proud to join Rep. Buck in taking action to put consumers back into the driver's seat, cut Big Tech's unchecked power, and level the playing field for smaller platforms in the marketplace.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz said:
“Online Digital Platforms have grown too large, too powerful and too damaging to a healthy marketplace. The burden should fall to them to prove that their mergers do not harm our fellow Americans. The bills introduced today will be referred to the House Judiciary Committee.”
Rep. Victoria Spartz said:
“Competition and free markets are fundamental to our freedoms. Ever-increasing government regulations have created distortions and contributed to a rise in monopolies and oligopolies in many sectors of our economy. I am happy to co-lead the bipartisan Merger Filing Fee Modernization act, which will provide improved resources for better enforcement of abuses of monopoly powers and shift the burden from taxpayers and smaller entities to larger companies demanding larger resource allocations.”
Rep. Chip Roy said:
“Filing fees for large mergers have not changed in 20 years yet merger activity, particularly in technology, is at or near all-time highs. As we evaluate what changes to make to our antitrust laws to adapt to a new marketplace, an obvious first step is fully enforcing our existing antitrust tools by providing regulators the resources they need to go up against companies with trillions in capital. I’m proud to cosponsor the Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act to level this playing field.”
The bills introduced today will be referred to the House Judiciary Committee.