US congressional leader on antitrust, Senator Amy Klobuchar, on Tuesday called for Congress to pass a bill to rein in Big Tech, as prospects of it becoming law seemed to be dimming. Supporters have been pressing Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to schedule a vote on the bill that would ban self-preferencing by Big Tech platforms like Amazon.com and Alphabet's Google. Klobuchar, a lead sponsor along with Republican Chuck Grassley, has said she has the 60 votes required to pass the measure.
"We must pass legislation to put rules of the road in place for dominant tech companies," Klobuchar said in a statement Tuesday. "These platforms use their dominance to unfairly disadvantage their rivals, all at the expense of competition and consumers."
She is expected to give a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday evening on the Big Tech antitrust bill and related matters.
Schumer said Tuesday his emphasis was on a bill to boost chip manufacturing, and on judicial confirmations. Asked about antitrust bills, he said: "I'm working with Senator Klobuchar. I support these bills. ... We have to see that we have 60 votes."
The Senate has three weeks, including this one, before its scheduled August recess. When lawmakers return in September, expectations are that the focus will be on November midterm elections.
There has been discussion of considering Klobuchar's bill along with another bipartisan measure that addresses Apple and Google's control of their app stores.
Several bills to regulate the tech industry have been proposed, and experts thought these two antitrust bills had the best chance of passing this year because of bipartisan outrage over big tech companies. Democrats are worried about antitrust concerns while Republicans have accused tech platforms of stifling conservative voices.
An opponent of the measure said on Tuesday that it was "highly unlikely" to become law this year. Supporters disagree, and have continued to lobby for the anti-Big Tech measures.
© Thomson Reuters 2022
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