Google, Facebook Pressure Falls Short as Antitrust Measures Advance in House Committee - The Wall Street Journal
Jun 24, 2021 2 mins, 3 secs

WASHINGTON—A House committee approved far-reaching legislation to curb the market dominance of tech giants, including Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc., but much of the effort faced intensive lobbying by affected firms that slowed the committee’s work and foreshadowed a pitched battle in the Senate.

The centerpiece of the six-bill package, a measure to bar big tech companies from favoring their own products in a range of circumstances on their platforms, was approved early Thursday by a vote of 24 to 20.

The bills must still pass the full House, where the timetable for bringing them to the floor for final votes remains unclear.

The debate over the House Judiciary Committee’s legislation started Wednesday morning and continued into Thursday morning, as Republicans—and some Democrats—raised concerns and floated amendments.

The package was the culmination of a lengthy investigation by a House antitrust subcommittee.

It found that the big tech companies have leveraged their dominance to stamp out competition and stifle innovation, adding that Congress should consider forcing them to separate their platforms from other business lines.

David Cicilline (D., R.I.) said the unchecked power of the biggest tech companies threatens economic fairness and even American democracy itself.

The effort has gained support from the Biden administration, which recently surprised Silicon Valley firms by naming a young progressive critic of big tech, Lina Khan, as chair of the FTC, one of two federal agencies that enforce U.S.

Khan is a former House antitrust staffer who worked on the big tech investigation.

“The president is encouraged by the bipartisan work to address problems created by big tech platforms,” a White House official said.

The legislative effort also has run into fierce opposition from many big tech companies and their Washington allies on both sides of the aisle.

Jim Jordan (R., Ohio), a vocal critic of the legislation, said it represented a worrisome instance of big tech and big government “now marrying up and working together.” He complained that it would give unprecedented power to the FTC to set industrial policy and even impose its own political agenda on the affected companies.

While antitrust legislation remains one of the bigger vulnerabilities in Congress this year for the big tech companies, several of the committee’s more far-reaching bills face uphill fights to become law in their current form.

In the Senate, Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) is leading an effort to pass antitrust legislation and has developed a broad package of changes

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