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Why tech should amy klobuchar

Why tech should amy klobuchar

Amy Klobuchar leads her final assault on Big Tech’s power

There are few issues in Washington with the power to transcend partisan politics—and even fewer with the power to split parties and bring Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) together. Klobuchar talked to The Verge on Tuesday about how putting a stop to Big Tech has done just that.

During President Joe Biden’s first year in office, anger on both sides of the aisle grew over how Big Tech was squeezing markets. This anger was under the surface of tensions between different groups over things like funding for infrastructure and helping people with the coronavirus. Even though complicated talks about antitrust reform could have been lost in the noise of other Democratic priorities, Klobuchar kept going. She introduced a few bills that took advantage of a broad consensus in Congress that tech companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google had become “monopolies” that could shut out competitors and let platforms set their own standards for the internet.


Klobuchar’s campaign paid off on the morning of January 20, just days after the Biden administration announced new plans to limit the power of corporations in all fields, including tech. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved her “American Innovation and Choice Online Act” that afternoon, setting it up for final consideration on the floor. If the bill passes, big platforms like Facebook and Google would not be allowed to put their own products and services ahead of those of their competitors. On top of this bill, she said, the House will vote next month on another Klobuchar bill that would give the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission more money through higher filing fees for mergers.

Klobuchar told The Verge by phone on Tuesday

“We got to this point because we did nothing for years.” “Everyone talks a big game, but nothing has changed.”

But after last week’s successful markup, Congress is closer than ever to doing something about Big Tech’s power. Last summer, Klobuchar’s colleagues in the House passed a bill that goes along with hers. Now, all that needs to happen is for both the Senate and the House to give it their final approval before Biden can sign it into law.


Tech is scared by this possibility. The Washington Post says that in 2021, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Uber, and Twitter spent almost $70 million lobbying politicians as Republicans and Democrats tried to pass laws to deal with their market power. Days before Klobuchar’s bill passed out of committee, Apple and Google released statements criticising it and warning that it would hurt consumers instead of help them. Lobbying groups that were funded by businesses were more direct. Chamber of Progress, a group that Amazon gives money to, said that the bill would “eliminate both the funding model and logistics model that make Amazon Prime possible.”

Industry’s worries

Klobuchar told The Verge that the industry’s worries were not important. “It’s not as if we’re trying to get rid of them or all of their ideas.” Of course not. She said, “That’s crazy.” “We’re just trying to set some ground rules so they can’t favour their own products over others or steal data from other companies and use it to their advantage.”

Still, any new rules have been perceived as a sizable threat to an industry that’s broadly avoided any form of regulation over the last few decades. During the markup last week, senators from both sides of the aisle suggested changes to the bill that could have a big effect on how well it works. Klobuchar told The Verge that she was willing to work with other senators in good faith, but “we need a bill that does something.”

Industry’s worries

Everyone is trying to be the most popular with tech companies

“Everyone is trying to be the most popular with tech companies.” You have to realise that these businesses will be fine. They are companies worth a trillion dollars. She said, “We’re just making room for competitors.”

Even though the Biden administration seems eager to take on corporate power this year, its efforts could be hampered by more pressing problems as lawmakers head back to their districts to brag about big Democratic wins as the midterm elections heat up. Klobuchar said she hadn’t “thought of it that way” when asked if antitrust reform was a winning issue for Democrats.

“We have people who care about keeping markets competitive and who have all kinds of different ideas,” she said. “What’s best for America and for competition is much more important than what’s best for either political party.” I think it’s good that we’re focused on getting this done for the people of this country.

Wins in politics are judged by how they change the lives of voters. Antitrust reform isn’t likely to be at the top of voters’ minds in a year with so many crises, like the administration’s responses to COVID-19 and inflation. Still, Klobuchar said that her bills would lower prices in online stores like Amazon and give parents more control over what their kids see on social media.

Klobuchar said, “Giving them more options gives them more ways to protect their kids.”

But even if Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) find the time to bring the antitrust bill to the floor, that doesn’t mean they’ll be able to get enough votes for the bill to pass. Many Republicans and Democrats agree that competition reform is important, but others say it’s not needed and could hurt companies and consumers even more. During last week’s markup, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) got into a fight over the bill, with Feinstein saying that the administration was against it. Klobuchar replied during the markup, “I’d like to know if you know something I don’t know.” “That’s a pretty brave thing to say.”

Now, the bill’s future depends on how well Klobuchar and her colleague can convince the other lawmakers to join them.

“During the hearing, one of the senators told me, “You know, you have a lot going against you.” “This won’t be easy,” Klobuchar told The Verge on Tuesday. “Really? She laughed and said, “I didn’t know that!”

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