The bipartisan antitrust bill targeting Big Tech companies like Amazon, Apple and Google is being kicked to the fall election season as Congress readies for its overdue five-week recess after staying late and hustling to pass several pieces of legislation, including the long-awaited climate, tax and healthcare package.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is planning a vote in the fall but the busy election season means there won’t be an abundance of days to schedule a session, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on Monday (Aug. 8).
If Congress neglects to make a move and vote, it will end up being a victory for tech companies, which have already thrown billions into lobbying efforts to defeat the American Innovation and Choice Online Act.
The legislation would make it illegal for Big Tech firms to give preferential treatment to their own products and services. Companies would not be allowed to steer consumers to their own in-house products instead of competitors’ offerings in any manner that could be seen as harming competition, PYMNTS reported in June.
The bill sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has some Republican support, but many conservatives are adamantly opposed to it.
“If the bill had the support its supporters contended, it wouldn’t be a bill, it would be a law,” Matt Schruers, president of the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), told the WSJ. The group’s members include Amazon, Alphabet, Apple and Meta.
Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time.
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the legislation in January and has the support of Silicon Valley Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Los Angeles Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), PYMNTS reported in January.
“This bill is not meant to break up Big Tech or destroy the products and services they offer,” said Grassley, the top Republican on the judiciary panel. “The goal of the bill is to prevent conduct that stifles competition.”
Smaller tech companies like Yelp have backed the bill.