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The Senate on Tuesday voted to confirm Lina Khan, a critic of Big Tech, to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), underscoring bipartisan support for action on antitrust.

Senators approved her nomination in a 69-28 vote.

Khan is known for her “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox” paper, which she wrote as a student at Yale, and served as an aide to the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee’s investigation into the market power of tech giants.

Although progressives rallied behind boosting Khan for the spot, she has also earned support from some Republicans. The Senate voted 72-25 Monday night to end debate on her nomination.

Notably, Republican Sen. Josh Hawley (Mo.), a leading GOP Big Tech critic, voted in favor of Khan’s nomination. Hawley has proposed his own bill that would revamp antitrust laws, with a target on the tech giants. 

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), chair of the Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, touted Khan’s knowledge of competition policy as lawmakers look to revamp antitrust policy. 

“We need all hands on deck as we take on some of the biggest monopolies in the world. Lina Khan’s deep understanding of competition policy will be vital as we strengthen antitrust enforcement, and I look forward to working with her at the FTC as we advance efforts to protect consumers,” Klobuchar said in a statement.

Her confirmation to the FTC comes as lawmakers are pushing forward with proposals that seek to rein in the power of the top tech companies. 

Senators from both sides of the aisle have proposed bills that target tech giants’ market power, and a House antitrust panel last week unveiled a bipartisan agenda with bills that give regulators greater authority to rein in the companies’ power.

Khan will also join the FTC as the agency is engaged in a high-profile lawsuit against Facebook, along with attorneys general across the country. The suit targets the social media giants over allegations of anti-competitive acquisitions. 

Khan’s confirmation was celebrated by the American Economic Liberties Project, which called Khan’s presence on the FTC a mark of a “beginning of the end of an area of lawlessness for powerful corporations.” 

But despite the bipartisan vote, the confirmation is facing pushback from within the tech industry. 

NetChoice, a tech industry trade group, deemed Khan an “activist” and said her confirmation threatens the FTC’s “long-standing impartiality.” 

“Khan has a strong career in persuading the American left of her proposed reforms to antitrust law, but the job of an FTC commissioner is to enforce antitrust laws as they are, not as the commissioner wishes they would be,” Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel at NetChoice, said in a statement. 

Updated at 12:54 p.m.

Tags Amy Klobuchar antitrust Big tech Joe Biden Josh Hawley Senate confirmation
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