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Allnight antitrust debate tech bills forward:

Allnight antitrust debate tech bills forward:

The House Judiciary Committee moved forward with a bill to stop companies like Inc., Apple Inc., Facebook Inc., and Alphabet Inc.’s Google from favoring their own products. Critics said this could make it harder to use Apple’s own apps on the iPhone or shop on Amazon.

The bill was the fifth of six that the committee was working on during a session that lasted nearly 20 hours and ended early Thursday morning. The committee then took a break until later in the day. The measure, which was pushed by David Cicilline, the chair of the antitrust subcommittee, was passed by a vote of 24 to 20.

During the marathon session, there were many disagreements about whether or not Microsoft Corp. would have to follow the committee’s four bills that were aimed at the largest tech companies. In these plans, a company is considered a “covered platform” if it has a large market capitalization, a lot of monthly users, and other businesses depending on its services.

Allnight antitrust debate tech bills forward:

During the long back-and-forth, people talked about antitrust principles, content moderation, freedom of speech, and even how laws should define a foreign adversary. These conversations didn’t fall along party lines, and in some cases, Democrats and Republicans were at odds with each other.

A White House official said that President Joe Biden is happy that people from both parties are working together to solve problems caused by big tech platforms. He also said that the president is looking forward to working with Congress to keep developing these ideas, which suggests that the administration may want to suggest changes.

The four tech-related bills are made to affect only a few big companies, like Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, and maybe even Microsoft. The top Republican on the antitrust subcommittee, Representative Ken Buck of Colorado, said that this plan was “a scalpel, not a chainsaw” to deal with what he called “anti-competitive practices” in the tech industry.

Some Republicans did not agree with this plan. Chip Roy, a representative from Texas, asked why antitrust laws would only focus on a few companies instead of competition principles that could be used everywhere. The top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, Jim Jordan from Ohio, said that the bills wouldn’t fix the problem of what he called online censorship of right-wing users.

Still, all of the five bills that have been passed so far have had support from both parties. This shows how angry people are in Washington about how the biggest tech companies have grown their economic and political power without any limits over the last few decades, a trend that has gotten worse since the coronavirus pandemic.

Tech trade groups have spoken out against the bill, saying that it will hurt consumers’ freedom of choice, slow down innovation, and hurt small businesses.

Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island, liked how Republicans and Democrats worked together not only to write the law, but also to investigate Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google for 16 months last year.

On Thursday afternoon, the committee was talking about the last bill, which was put forward by Democrat Pramila Jayapal of Washington state. The measure would make platforms give up all of their business in some areas.

Jayapal said during the hearing, “The dominant platforms’ dual ownership creates a clear conflict of interest, an irresistible urge, if you will, for platforms to favor their own business lines over competitors.” Jayapal said, “In simple terms, this would be like being the person who makes all the rules and calls all the plays on the field while also playing on one of the teams.”

Two other tech-related bills were passed by the committee on Wednesday. They would make it easier for regulators to stop companies that meet the criteria of the bills from buying other companies, and they would also require those companies to let users move their data to different services.

The other two bills that were looked at on Wednesday are small steps to help enforcers of antitrust laws. These two bills have similar ones in the Senate, which makes it easier for them to become laws.

House leaders haven’t said if or when the full floor will vote on the bills from the Judiciary Committee. Even harder is getting legislation through the Senate because it needs support from both parties.

(Adds a comment from Jayapal in the 12th paragraph. In a previous version of this story, the vote count in the second paragraph was wrong.


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