Although clipping the wings of tech giants through antitrust reform had support from both Republicans and Democrats during this Congress, a likely GOP majority in the House next year is expected to focus on allegations that internet platforms squelch conservative viewpoints. That’s why tech lobbyists have been trying to run out the clock. Leading Republicans like California’s Kevin McCarthy, who is on track to become Speaker under a GOP majority, have publicly opposed the antitrust push. The legislation’s sponsors can see the window narrowing. Antitrust advocates were expecting a vote before Congress adjourned for four weeks in August. But Schumer told donors in July that it didn’t have enough votes to pass.
The bill has 13 co-sponsors in the Senate, where it would need 60 votes to pass and be sent to the House. Supporters like Yelp’s head of public policy Luther Lowe, a longtime Google critic, argue that enough undecided lawmakers would vote for the measure if it came to the floor. A Schumer spokesperson said he’s working with the bill’s sponsors to find the necessary votes and he still plans to bring it to the floor. The bill was approved by both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees on strong bipartisan votes. Several amendments have addressed concerns about privacy and security issues. What hasn’t killed the bill “has made it stronger,” said Yelp’s Lowe. The measure seeks to restrict the companies from favoring their own products, so that competitors who depend on these platforms to reach consumers wouldn’t be at a disadvantage. That could impact the design of Google Maps, the display of Apple Music on an iPhone or the prominence of Amazon Basics on the company’s e-commerce site. “I don’t see it going to the floor,” said Michael Petricone, senior vice president of government affairs at the Consumer Technology Association, a trade group that counts Amazon, Google and Facebook among its members. “With an election coming up, I expect senators to come back and focus on issues that are popular with voters. Tech regulation is not one of those issues.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.