Indian American Pramila Jayapal named vice chair of key panel

Pramila Jayapal
Rep. Pramila Jayapal; American Bazaar file photo

Chennai-born lawmaker to lead antitrust subcommittee’s work on big tech, reining in anti-competitive behavior.

Chennai born Indian American Democratic lawmaker Pramila Jayapal has been named vice chair of House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on antitrust, commercial, and administrative law

In this leadership role, Jayapal, 55, will oversee the subcommittee’s urgent work on antitrust, big tech, reining in anti-competitive behavior, helping prevent monopolistic practices, protecting a free press, and allowing innovation to thrive, according to a media release.

“Jayapal has been a leading voice on the committee, where she most recently played an active role in conducting America’s first major congressional antitrust investigation in decades,” it said.

“I am honored to lead the House Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law at a pivotal moment in which we must write the next chapter of antitrust law,” said Jayapal, US Representative from Washington state,

“That’s how we will finally hold dominant tech platforms accountable while advocating for workers, stopping hate and misinformation, and protecting a free press.”

“By reasserting the power of Congress and using our historic investigation as a roadmap, we will continue the work necessary to rein in anti-competitive behavior, help prevent monopolistic practices, protect local and independent journalism, and allow innovation to thrive.”

Serving her second term in Congress, Jayapal is the first South Asian American woman elected to the House and is currently the only Indian American woman in the US Congress.

In July, Jayapal questioned the CEOs of three dominant tech platforms. She asked former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos about how the tech giant uses third party seller data, the release noted.

“She also questioned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on how the social networking giant harvests and monetizes user data and then utilizes it to copy, acquire, and kill rivals.”

Additionally, Jayapal asked Google’s Indian American CEO Sundar Pichai about the company’s total control of the ad market as the owner of the market, the ad buyer, and the ad seller, which has harmful effects on the local and independent journalism necessary for our democracy to thrive.

The hearing was part of the antitrust subcommittee’s more than 16-month investigation into the state of competition in the digital economy.

“I can say conclusively that self-regulation by big tech comes at the expense of our communities, small businesses, consumers, the free press, and innovation,” Jayapal said after the investigation’s findings were released in October.

In December, Jayapal was elected as the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), making her one of the most powerful US lawmakers in the 117th Congress.

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