They have “become too big to care and too powerful to ever put people over profits,” says Indian American lawmaker.
The House Judiciary Committee has passed a bill led by Indian American Representative Pramila Jayapal that would make it easier to break up tech giants like Facebook and Google.
The panel passed the bipartisan Ending Platform Monopolies Act (HR 3825) Thursday after a marathon series of debates and votes on six bills targeting Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.
The landmark antitrust legislation, which prevents monopolistic practices by big tech companies, will now move forward to the full House of Representatives.
“From Facebook and Amazon to Google and Apple, it could not be more clear that these unregulated tech giants have become too big to care and too powerful to ever put people over profits — so we must,” said Jayapal, the Vice Chair of the House Antitrust Subcommittee.
“By passing the bipartisan Ending Platform Monopolies Act, the Judiciary Committee is taking a historic step towards finally putting an end to Big Tech’s monopolistic practices, reining in their anti-competitive behavior, and supporting fairness, competition, and innovation,” she said.
“As these companies continue ramping up special interest lobbying campaigns to maintain their dominance, we are stepping up for workers, consumers, small businesses, local independent journalism, and our communities,” Jayapal said.
“My legislation is a structural solution to a structural problem, and I will continue working to move it forward so we can make it law.”
The Ending Platform Monopolies Act is bipartisan legislation that eliminates the conflicts of interest that arise from a dominant platform’s ownership and reach across multiple business lines,” Jayapal said in a press release.
This monopolistic behavior allows a company to leverage its control to disadvantage competitors while hurting small businesses, consumers, and innovation, she said.
Jayapal’s bill “addresses this anti-competitive conduct by making it unlawful for a dominant online platform — such as Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook — to simultaneously own another line of business when that dual ownership creates a conflict of interest.”
Thursday’s vote follows a 16-month bipartisan investigation by the House Antitrust Subcommittee
The first major congressional antitrust investigation in decades found that depending on self-regulation by Big Tech comes at the direct expense of workers, consumers, small businesses, the free press, competition, and innovation.
The report recommended that Congress step in to regulate these marketplaces so no company has a platform so dominant that it is a monopoly.
The break-up bill was the most controversial part of the antitrust package, drawing opposition from four of the committee’s Democrats and only eking out approval on a 21-20 vote, Politico reported.
The antitrust push has triggered a huge lobbying fight by the tech companies and their trade groups against the proposals. It’s also split both the Democrats and Republicans, with members of both parties fighting for and against the legislation, it said.
The bill would allow federal regulators to sue to break up companies that both operate a dominant platform and sell their own goods or services on it, if the arrangement poses an “irreconcilable conflict of interest.”
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