© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: House Justice President Jerry Nadler (D-NY) speaks during a House Justice Committee hearing on "Policing Practices and Law Enforcement Accountability" on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, the United States, June 10, 2020. Graeme Jennings / Pool via REUTERS /
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee will vote next week on a package of recently tabled antitrust laws, including several aimed at big tech's market power, committee chairman Jerry Nadler said Wednesday.
Last week, five antitrust laws were introduced in the House of Representatives. They are evaluated in the committee to consider changes and then voted on by the panel to decide whether the whole House should vote on the measures.
Two of the bills introduced last week deal with the issue of giant companies like Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ 🙂 and Alphabet (NASDAQ 🙂 Incs Google, which create a platform for other companies and then compete with the same companies.
These bills – one of which would force companies to sell companies – have met with the greatest opposition. Some pro tech groups have said that they could spell the end of popular promotions like Amazon Prime free shipping and iMessage in iPhones.
Representative David Cicilline, Chair of the Antitrust Subcommittee, spoke about a crisis faced by the power of Amazon, Apple (NASDAQ :), Facebook (NASDAQ 🙂 and Google. "These modern robber barons are building their power through anti-competitive means," he said at a press conference that was flanked by Republican and Democratic colleagues.
A leading Republican antitrust representative, Rep. Ken Buck, said he was skeptical of the need for additional antitrust enforcement but had changed his mind. "I think you will see more Republican support as people understand the problem better," he said.
In addition to the two bills targeting conflicts of interest in the business of platforms, a third law would require a platform to refrain from merging unless it can demonstrate that the acquired company is not competing with a product or service, where the platform resides would require platforms to allow users to transfer their data to another location, including a competing company.
House MPs also tabled a fifth bill, a companion to a measure already passed by the Senate that would increase antitrust budgets and make companies planning the largest mergers pay more. Observers have said that this bill is the most likely to come into force.
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