With GOP Support, House Takes First Big Step to Curb Power of Big Tech

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One of the first skirmishes in the fight against Big Tech occurred last week in the House of Representatives.

The subject was not tech per se, it was antitrust. But as we know, the problems of Big Tech companies such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Twitter stem from their size, scope, and power.

The antitrust fights of our time must focus on these companies, which is why pro-Big Tech lobbyists such as NetChoice opposed the suite of three bills under consideration.

What exactly made the Big Tech lobby so worried?

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Lawmakers decided to merge the suite of three bills and vote on the proposals as a package. The final vote Thursday was 242-184, including 39 Republicans.

The State Antitrust Enforcement Venue Act, sponsored by Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., would address the problem of antitrust cases being heard by courts more likely to be favorable to Big Tech by leveling the playing field and restoring agency to state attorneys general who bring the cases.

The Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act would update the structure of fees that companies must pay to the Federal Trade Commission before they merge, lessening the burden on small and medium-size companies while requiring mergers over $1 billion to cover a higher share of costs.

Finally, the Foreign Merger Subsidy Disclosure Act simply would require companies that file premerger notifications to disclose subsidies and other funding from foreign agencies, such as the Chinese Communist Party.

More in-depth analysis of each of these bills may be found here from The Heritage Foundation’s Jake Denton. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s multimedia news organization.)

As Kara Frederick, Will Thibeau, and Denton of Heritage’s Tech Policy Center explain:

Big Tech companies should not have outsized authority to shape and control society. However, we have all watched these companies take an increasingly troubling share of control over our politics and culture in recent years.

Conservatives should champion targeted, commonsense policies that constrain Big Tech companies’ abuse of power. This package equips the American people’s representatives with tools to do so. These bills represent an important step toward restoring self-governance, shoring up our national security, and enforcing current antitrust laws to promote competitiveness—without expanding or unduly empowering the federal bureaucracy. 

From providing state attorneys general with a more level playing field in critical litigation against Big Tech to exposing Big Tech’s cozy relationship with U.S. adversaries like the Chinese Communist Party, this package is a requisite starting point to rebalance the relationship between American citizens and the Big Tech companies that abuse them.

This legislation is an important step in the right direction as we fight back against Big Tech. The fact that a bill on the issue was able to pass the House is a sign that the political tides are shifting toward freedom and competition in the digital space.

We look forward to continuing the fight against Big Tech in the 118th Congress, beginning next year.

Meanwhile, conservatives should be grateful to the 39 House Republicans who joined Democrats to pass the bill, and whose names are listed below.

Kelly Armstrong, North Dakota

Jodey Arrington, Texas

Jim Banks, Indiana

Andy Biggs, Arizona

Ken Buck, Colorado

Ted Budd, North Carolina

Michael Cloud, Texas

Tom Cole, Oklahoma

Scott DesJarlais, Tennessee

Russ Fulcher, Idaho

Brian Fitzpatrick, Pennsylvania

Matt Gaetz, Florida

Mike Garcia, California

Anthony Gonzalez, Ohio

Bob Good, Virginia

Paul Gosar, Arizona  

Morgan Griffith, Virginia

Kevin Hern, Oklahoma

French Hill, Arizona

Ashley Hinson, Iowa

Chris Jacobs, New York

Dusty Johnson, South Dakota

Billy Long, Missouri

Frank Lucas, Oklahoma

Nicole Malliotakis, New York

Peter Meijer, Michigan

Mary Miller, Illinois

Mariannette Miller-Meeks, Iowa

Jay Obernolte, California

Burgess Owens, Utah

John Rose, Tennessee

Chip Roy, Texas

Maria Salazar, Florida

David Schweikert, Arizona

Pete Sessions, Texas

Mike Simpson, Idaho

Victoria Spartz, Indiana

Fred Upton, Michigan

Steve Womack, Arkansas

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