Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Ken Barker (R-Colo.) appear during a House Judiciary Committee marking session in the Rayburn Building on Wednesday, May 8, 2019.
Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Name Company | Getty Images
technology giant Google, amazon and apple Congress may hold off this year on efforts to rein in some of the companies’ most controversial and allegedly anticompetitive business practices — even though the legislation typically has broad bipartisan support.
The new Republican leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives appears to have no interest in imposing tougher antitrust rules on tech giants to ensure they don’t abuse their market dominance to keep smaller rivals at bay, Rep. Ken BuckR-Colo, the former top Republican on antitrust issues on the House Judiciary Subcommittee, said in an interview.
Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told CNBC in a separate interview that the GOP also doesn’t want to give the Biden administration more power and resources.
“I don’t think Speaker McCarthy, Chairman Jordan or Chairman Massey are advocates of antitrust, pro-competitive solutions to big tech problems,” Barker said, referring to Jordan, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and House Speaker Thomas Massey. Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee. Although Barker was second in line to chair the panel in the last Congress, Jordan, the Ohio Republican, chosen Massie, R-Ky., instead leads a subcommittee for the current Congress.
Barker, an outspoken critic of tech giants for years, said tougher antitrust rules would help create a fairer market for smaller tech companies to compete with Amazon, Google, Facebook and other big tech companies accused of using their platforms. Companies compete to promote their own proprietary products or services over competitors.
Asked whether his campaign to rein in tech giants through antitrust and the bill he co-sponsored with Democrats might be the reason he lost the chair of the antitrust committee, Barker said, “Nobody ever said that to me, But I think that’s a fair conclusion to draw.”
Jordan said Republican leaders reshuffled committees as lawmakers look to rein in what they see as excessive regulation by the Biden administration, including Federal Trade Commissionrather than strengthening the regulation of the industry.
“We just felt that Thomas Massie was a great fit for the way we structured the Judiciary Committee. We’re thinking that we don’t want to give these agencies more power,” Jordan said in an interview with CNBC. “No one was more preoccupied with limiting the size and scope of government than Thomas Massey.”
While tech companies may be exempt from costly new regulations that could tear them apart — for now — the industry may not be entirely immune to Capitol Hill scrutiny. A tech industry ally of McCarthy said House Republican leaders want to investigate whether tech companies have been censoring conservative voices.
jordan has subpoena The CEOs of Alphabet, Amazon, and Apple, the parent company of Google, Yuan and Microsoftrequiring companies to communicate with the U.S. government to “understand how and to what extent the executive branch coerces and colludes with companies and other intermediaries to censor speech.”
Over the years, Jordan has repeatedly questioned the usefulness of antitrust laws, preferring to focus on what he sees as censorship of conservative voices by major tech platforms. In June 2021, during a 23-hour markup on a package of antitrust bills backed by Reps. David Cicilline and Buck, Jordan said the legislation would not do enough to address those scrutiny concerns.
Meanwhile, Buck previously told CNBC Problems with bias on platforms like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook are just “a symptom of the overall problem” of insufficient competition online. That’s because there are some dominant companies that run the largest platforms.
Representatives for Meta and Microsoft referred CNBC to previous statements in which they said they were cooperating with Jordan’s subpoena. All of the other tech giants mentioned in this article did not respond to requests for comment.
Last year, advocates for reforming antitrust law optimistic about opportunities Pass significant legislation to strengthen competition rules for online shopping platforms, mobile apps and other relatively new technologies. The leading proposal at the time was the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, sponsored by Minnesota Judiciary Subcommittee Chairs Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Min., and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa full committee. Although it passed the Senate Judiciary Committee, and similar legislation passed the House Judiciary Committee, it did not make it to both chambers for a vote.
one Antitrust Bill Bucks Introduced in May Gain bipartisan support from both ends of political spectrum: Reps. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash. and Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., among others. The legislation, which prohibits large digital ad platforms like Google from owning multiple parts of the system to buy and sell such ads, is still likely to pass this Congress, Barker said.
technology company tens of millions of dollars spent Lobbying the U.S. government for years. Apple was the target of two major bills last year, Lobbying spending in Q1 2022 is higher than in any other quarterspent $2.5 million during the period and $9.4 million spent on lobbying for the year — 44% increase compared to its 2021 spending.
Supporters of the bill remained hopeful after the August recess that they still had a chance at the end of last fall’s two-year Congressional session, when lawmakers often pass popular proposals.But that time came and went no congressional action Largest antitrust bill ever. Congress did pass a bill to help increase funding for law enforcement agencies and empower state attorneys general to choose where they want to preserve antitrust litigation.
Senate takes the lead
As for Barker, he wants the Senate to pass any antitrust legislation first in this Congress in order to gain support in the House.
He may have to do so without one of his close allies on antitrust, Cicilline, who chairs the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee as it investigates Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook.the democrats are ready to leave congress becomes president and CEO of the Rhode Island Foundation later this year.
One of the bills Buck said he’s taking a close look at is the Digital Advertising Competition and Transparency Act, introduced in the previous Congress by Senators Mike Lee, R-Utah, Klobuchar, D-Minn. and Ted Cruz. Senate sponsorship, R-Texas et al.If passed and signed into law, Google, Facebook and Amazon could be forced to Sell Shut down key parts of their advertising business. Buck has sponsored an identical companion bill in the House.
When asked how he plans to take on Big Tech since he doesn’t run the subcommittee, Barker replied: “Well, that’s a good question, and I’d appreciate any answers you have on that,” He said. “I’m not the chairman of the subcommittee, I’m not the chairman of the full committee. But I know the bill is being introduced in the Senate. We’re going to be introducing the bill in the House.”