The White House is planning a post-midterm push for antitrust legislation that would rein in the power of the world’s biggest tech companies, a last-ditch effort to get a deadlocked pair of bills through Congress before a Republican takeover is predicted in January .
We’re very committed to driving ambitious legislation in this area,” Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council, said in a phone interview.
The lame duck period following Tuesday’s election could be the last attempt to pass landmark legislation, the American Innovation and Choice Online Act and the Open App Markets Act.
The bills, which would prevent tech companies from using their platforms to thwart competitors, would mark the most significant expansion of antitrust rules in over a century.
Republicans have made it clear they will not support the bills if they regain control of one of the chambers of Congress.
That has proponents urging the White House to make a push in recent weeks before a new Congress meets early next year.
The effort comes after supporters criticized the White House for not prioritizing legislation that big tech companies have spent more than $100 million fighting. Alphabet Google, Amazon.com, Apple and Meta Platforms oppose the bill.
“There is bipartisan support for antitrust legislation and there is no reason Congress couldn’t act before the end of the year,” White House spokeswoman Emilie Simons said.
“We plan to ramp up our engagement across the board during the lame duck on the President’s agenda, including antitrust.”
Versions of both bills have made it through committees but await action from the full House and Senate. Unless Congress acts before the end of the year, it will likely be years before lawmakers pass legislation to challenge the power of the tech giants.
Ultimately, the future of the bills rests with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who will decide whether to put the measures to a vote before the end of the year. Supporters hope the White House will focus its public relations specifically on him.
“It’s great to see the White House committing to important and popular legislation, and we now have a real opportunity to get it across the finish line,” said Alex Harman, director of government affairs at the antimonopoly group Economic Security Project.
The White House has issued statements in support of trust-busting legislation.
But the congressional affairs team, which negotiated several bipartisan legislative packages during President Joe Biden’s tenure, has remained particularly dovish, according to supporters and congressional aides familiar with the White House’s reach.
Evan Greer, director of advocacy Fight for the Future, started a petition in mid-October urging the White House to put its weight behind the bills in the final phase of this congressional session.
“I don’t think the White House understands how embarrassing and bad it looks when the Democrats, while they control the House, Senate and White House, don’t do anything about big tech,” Greer said.
“We’ll come when the clock runs out.”
Mr Deese says the President is engaged.
https://www.independent.ie/business/world/tech-firms-face-pressure-from-white-house-antitrust-push-42120074.html Tech firms are under pressure from the White House’s antitrust rules