Advocacy groups urge Schumer to call vote on antitrust bill
A coalition of more than 20 advocacy groups is urging Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to call a vote on a bipartisan antitrust bill that aims to limit tech giants from preferencing their own products and services over rivals.
“This is an opportunity to pass legislation that will immediately result in a concrete increase in competition in an industry that touches the lives of every American, and we must not pass it up. We are pleased that you intend to bring [the American Innovation and Choice Online Act] to the floor, and urge you to act as quickly as is practical,” the groups wrote in a Thursday letter, according to a copy first provided to The Hill.
The letter is signed by groups including Demand Progress, Center for Digital Democracy, Athena and Public Citizen.
The push follows an Axios report last month that Schumer intends to put the bill up for a vote by early summer.
The bill advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee in January with bipartisan support. A version of the bill advanced out of the House Judiciary Committee last year, along with other antitrust proposals as part of a marathon markup session.
As the Senate version of the bill awaits a floor vote, large tech companies and industry groups are pushing back fiercely on the legislation. The companies say the legislation poses national security concerns and may hinder their ability to provide certain services consumers enjoy.
The advocacy groups slammed the collective industry-led effort in their letter to Schumer.
“Big Tech is spending millions on lobbying and ad campaigns to spread lies about antitrust legislation, because these corporations will do anything to avoid accountability. But it’s important to note that AICO only applies to companies with total stock values greater than $550,000,000,000, and is written to explicitly protect privacy and security,” they wrote.
“Big Tech’s lobbyists claim that AICO will harm American competitiveness but the truth is that anti-competitive and monopolistic behavior by tech giants have harmed smaller businesses and weakened the economy for everyone else,” they added.