Senior Democrats are opposing their party members’ attempts to regulate large technology companies, which shows that progressives may find it difficult to rewrite American competition laws.
Democrats in the House of Representatives criticized the package of measures being promoted by members of the House Antitrust Committee because the opposition opposes radical proposals, and some hope that these proposals may lead to the collapse of large technology companies.
This disagreement shows that even if President Joe Biden is considering signing his own executive order to strengthen the power of regulators to promote competition in his industry, how difficult it is to carry out major reforms of US antitrust laws.
Zoe Lofgren, a representative of the Democratic Party from California, told the Financial Times: “I don’t think they spent a lot of time drafting these bills. Some of these measures are embarrassing… I am in favor of antitrust laws. Make adjustments, but some of them are radical.”
Lou Correa, another Democratic representative from California, said: “I’m not sure whether we should try to split some of these companies. Why do we single out American companies, especially those from California?”
The House Judiciary Committee passed six bills last week aimed at breaking the corporate power enjoyed by companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple.
This move is part of the most significant change in a generation to promote the enactment of American competition laws more broadly. But industry lobbyists are targeting centrist Democrats, especially Democrats from California, because they try to prevent the most radical measures.
One of the bills will prohibit large technology companies from granting preferential treatment to their products and may prevent Amazon and others from using its online stores to promote their products. The other will prevent them from acquiring competitors or new competitors, just like Facebook did with WhatsApp and Instagram.
Biden has appointed Lina Khan, a law professor who has called for the split of Amazon, as the chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, and appointed another prominent critic, Tim Wu, as an adviser to the White House, thus demonstrating his support for the takeover Large technology company.Amazon Wednesday Submitted a petition With the Federal Trade Commission, Khan is urged to evade investigations involving the company.
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Wu is one of the people who made the executive order, which will give industry regulators greater powers to encourage competition within their industry.As part of the order, officials are considering ordering regulators to ban companies from using “non-compete” clauses Including Amazon Prevent their employees from working for their competitors.
A White House spokesperson said: “During the campaign, the president made it clear that he is committed to increasing competition in the U.S. economy… but has not yet made a final decision on any actions.”
After the FTC and dozens of state attorneys using existing competition laws filed antitrust lawsuits against Facebook this week, critics of large technology companies are keen to push for legislative reforms.
But Lovegren and Correa’s comments show how difficult it will be to pass such legislation, even though it has attracted the support of a handful of Republicans criticizing large technology companies. A few days ago, the Democratic leader of the House of Representatives, Steny Hoyer (Steny Hoyer) warned that these bills triggered opposition from senior members of the party. not ready yet Voted by the plenary meeting.
Earlier this month, a group of separate Eight Democrats warned The bill “may weaken personal privacy protection [and] Network security and increase the spread of dangerous conspiracy theories and misinformation.”
The Democrats have only a small majority in the House of Representatives, and the Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has expressed opposition. An industry lobbyist expressed his belief that these bills would not pass the House of Representatives. He said: “Centre Democrats and the California delegation should pay attention to this.”
Adam Kovacevich, CEO of the Progressive Chamber of Commerce, a group representing the technology industry, said: “We will focus our efforts on those Democrats who are not on the Judiciary Committee and ask them,’This is you. Voters? Are you arguing about it?'”
The chairman of the House Antitrust Subcommittee David Cicillin told the Financial Times that he does not expect the concerns of his fellow Democrats to prevent the entire House of Representatives from voting.
He said: “I fully hope that these bills will be voted and supported by both parties.” “Not everyone knows that this legislation is the product of a 16-month investigation to really study these platforms, and we Careful legislation has been enacted in the first six months of this year.”
If these bills are passed in the House of Representatives, they may win the support of Republicans such as Josh Holly and Ted Cruz in the Senate, who are well-known critics of tech giants.
However, 60 votes are needed to defeat the obstructing motion, and industry lobbyists believe that only the least controversial measures, such as measures to increase funding for competition regulators, have a chance to pass.