The United States House Judiciary Committee will vote next week on a set of recently introduced antitrust bills, including several targeting the market power of big techs, committee chairman Jerry Nadler said on Wednesday.
Last week, five anti-trust bills were tabled in the House of Representatives. They will be explained in committee to examine the changes, then voted on by the panel to decide whether the entire House should vote on the measures.
Two of the bills introduced last week address the problem of giant companies, such as Amazon and Alphabet’s Google, creating a platform for other companies and then competing with those same companies.
These bills – one of which would force companies to sell businesses – have allured the most opposition. Some pro-tech groups have said they could mean the end of popular promotions such as free shipping of Amazon Prime and iMessage in iPhone devices.
Representative David Cicilline, chairman of the antitrust subcommittee, spoke of a crisis given the power of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. “These modern day thief barons are increasing their power through anti-competitive means,” he said at a press conference bounded by fellow Republicans and Democrats.
A leading anti-trust Republican, Representative Ken Buck, said he was doubtful of the need for additional anti-trust enforcement, but had changed his mind. He said “I think you’re going to see more Republican support as people understand the issue better.”
In addition to the two bills choosing conflicts of interest in platform activities, a third bill would require a platform to refrain from any merger unless it can demonstrate that the obtained company is not in competition with any product or service in which the platform is located. A fourth would require platforms to allow users to pass on their data elsewhere, including to a competitor.
Members of the House also introduced a fifth bill, a companion to a measure that has already been passed by the Senate that would increase budgets for antitrust authorities and charge more for companies planning the biggest mergers. Spectators have said the bill is the most likely of the five to become law.