Senate panel advances Biden's pick to lead DOJ antitrust unit

Senate panel advances Biden's pick to lead DOJ antitrust unit
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Jonathan Kanter, President BidenJoe BidenBiden and Harris host 'family' Hanukkah celebration with more than 150 guests Symone Sanders to leave the White House at the end of the year Overnight Defense & National Security — Senate looks to break defense bill stalemate MORE’s nominee to lead the Department of Justice's (DOJ) antitrust division, advanced with broad bipartisan support at a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting Thursday. 

The panel advanced Kanter through a voice vote, though Sen. John CornynJohn CornynCongress's goal in December: Avoid shutdown and default Mental health: The power of connecting requires the power of investing Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall MORE (R-Texas) asked to be recorded as a vote against Kanter’s nomination. 

If approved by a final Senate vote, Kanter will lead the DOJ division at a time when the federal government is cracking down on the market power of tech giants, including suing Google over allegations of illegally maintaining a monopoly over online searches.

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Google has pushed back on the allegations stemming from the case, which was first brought under the Trump administration. 

Cornyn said he shares some of the concerns Kanter has raised about the tech industry, but he is concerned with what he described as Kanter’s approach to “use antitrust tools as a hammer to achieve political or social ends.” 

But other Republicans said they were backing Kanter despite some disagreements because of the focus on the tech industry. 

“I've got my own concerns about Mr. Kanter. I can't say that I agree with him on everything — in fact we probably disagree on more than we agree on — but I do appreciate his understanding that the hyperconcentration and consolidation of the tech sector is a big problem, and I think he believes in antitrust. I think he wants to do something about it,” said Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyFacebook unblocks Rittenhouse searches GOP holds on Biden nominees set back gains for women in top positions Graham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks MORE (R-Mo.).

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHouse passes bipartisan bills to strengthen network security, cyber literacy Klobuchar confident spending bill will be finished before Christmas Sunday shows preview: New COVID-19 variant emerges; supply chain issues and inflation persist MORE (D-Minn.), the chair of the antitrust subcommittee, noted that Makan Delrahim, the former DOJ antitrust chief under the Trump administration, and former assistant attorney generals of both parties urged Kanter's confirmation to the position. 

“There may be differences on certain answers that Mr. Kanter said. … Overall, he is where this committee is in terms of how we talk about this,” Klobuchar said. 

Along with Kanter, Biden has appointed tech critics to key positions during his first year in office. He appointed Lina KhanLina KhanHillicon Valley — Chinese disinformation accounts removed GOP resistance to Biden FCC nominee could endanger board's Democratic majority Hillicon Valley — Inside the Twitter shakeup MORE as chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission and Tim Wu to a White House advisory role.