House takes the first big step to limit the power of big tech
One of the first skirmishes in the fight against Big Tech happened last week in the House of Representatives.
The topic wasn’t technology per se, it was antitrust. But as we know, the problems of Big Tech companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Twitter stem from their size, reach, and power.
The antitrust battles of our time must focus on these companies, which is why pro-Big Tech lobbyists such as NetChoice have fought back following three bills under consideration.
What made the Big Tech lobby so worried?
Lawmakers decided to merge the following three bills and vote on the proposals as a whole. The final vote Thursday was 242 to 184, including 39 Republicans.
State Antitrust Venue Law, sponsored by Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., Would solve the problem of antitrust cases being heard by courts more likely to favor Big Tech by leveling the playing field and restoring the agency of state attorneys general who carry deals.
The Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act would update the fee structure companies must pay to the Federal Trade Commission before merging, easing the burden on small and medium-sized businesses while requiring mergers over $1 billion to cover a higher share of costs.
Finally, the Foreign Merger Subsidy Disclosure Act would simply require companies that file pre-merger notifications to disclose subsidies and other funding from foreign bodies, such as the Chinese Communist Party.
A more in-depth analysis of each of these bills can be found here by Jake Denton of The Heritage Foundation. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s multimedia news agency.)
As Kara Frederick, Will Thibeau, and Denton of Heritage’s Tech Policy Center explain:
Big tech companies shouldn’t have outsized authority to shape and control society. However, we have all seen these companies take an increasingly troubling amount of control over our politics and culture in recent years.
Conservatives should champion targeted, common-sense policies that limit the abuse of power by big tech companies. This package gives the representatives of the American people the tools to do just that. These bills represent an important step toward restoring self-government, strengthening our national security, and enforcing current antitrust laws to promote competitiveness, without unduly expanding or empowering federal bureaucracy.
From providing state attorneys general with a more level playing field in critical litigation against Big Tech to exposing Big Tech’s comfortable relationship with U.S. adversaries like the Chinese Communist Party, this package is a necessary starting point to rebalance the relationship between American citizens and Big Tech. companies that abuse it.
This legislation is an important step in the right direction as we fight Big Tech. The fact that a bill on the matter was able to pass the House is a sign that the political tides are shifting towards freedom and competition in the digital space.
We look forward to continuing the fight against Big Tech at the 118th Congress, starting next year.
Meanwhile, conservatives should be grateful to the 39 House Republicans who joined Democrats in passing the bill and whose names are listed below.
Kelly Armstrong, North Dakota
Jodey Arrington, Texas
Jim Banks, Indiana
Andy Biggs, Arizona
Ken Buck, Colorado
Ted Budd, North Carolina
Michael Cloud, Texas
Tom Cole, Oklahoma
Scott Des Jarlais, Tennessee
Russ Fulcher, Idaho
Brian Fitzpatrick, Pennsylvania
Matt Gaetz, Florida
Mike Garcia, California
Anthony Gonzalez, Ohio
Bob Good, Virginia
Paul Gosar, Arizona
Morgan Griffith, Virginia
Kevin Hern, Oklahoma
French Hill, Arizona
Ashley Hinson, Iowa
Chris Jacobs, New York
Dusty Johnson, South Dakota
Billy Long, Mo.
Frank Lucas, Oklahoma
Nicole Malliotakis, New York
Peter Meijer, Michigan
Mary Miller, Ill.
Marianne Miller-Meeks, Iowa
Jay Obernolte, California
Burgess Owens, UT
John Rose, Tennessee
Chip Roy, Texas
Maria Salazar, Florida
David Schweikert, Arizona
Pete Sessions, Texas
Mike Simpson, Idaho
Victoria Spartaz, Indiana
Fred Upton, Mich.
Steve Womack, Arkansas
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