In a marathon markup meeting that lasted 29 hours, the House Judiciary Committee approved all six of the bills in a sweeping antitrust package that takes aim at Big Tech and attempts to reel in the giants’ power.
But the lengthy debate that began Wednesday and did not finish till Thursday afternoon illuminated the fissures within both parties as tech companies continue lobbying lawmakers, and some California delegates — whose districts encompass many tech headquarters — voiced skepticism.
The committee advanced the sixth bill — the one with perhaps the broadest implications for tech giants — Thursday afternoon in a tight 21 to 20 vote. Two Republicans joined those voting to advance the bill, while four Democrats were opposed.
The bills, which have some bipartisan support, target the far-reaching power of Big Tech, especially Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google. The committee spent the first several hours of the hearing debating the two least controversial bills — a measure that would update merger filing fees, and another that deals with venues for antitrust suits brought by state attorneys general.
The bills with more substantial changes passed throughout the night, including a bill to prevent tech giants from buying rising competitors; one to prohibit big tech companies from giving their own products and services preference over those from competitors; and another to make it easier to use products from different tech companies together.
The last bill, passed Thursday afternoon, would enable federal regulators to sue to break up large tech companies when their role as operator of a platform presents an “irreconcilable conflict of interest” in their other lines of business. That could spell trouble especially for Amazon — which operates a major e-commerce marketplace where it also competes as a seller of its own goods — and potentially for Google — which ranks videos in its search engine while also running its own major video service, YouTube. (Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
Big Tech is making a full-court press in lobbying lawmakers to defeat the bills, according to reporting in Gizmodo and the New York Times. The push is made clear in public calls from industry trade organizations and the companies themselves
As you may know the worlds media is ran by 6 lobbying GIANTS that can control what you see everyday with simple programs. This is a major win for free speech.