Top Senate Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa came out against the House’s bipartisan antitrust bills targeted at Big Tech on Monday evening, dealing a blow to those who want to curb Silicon Valley's influence through the legislation.
Grassley, the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, is in talks to write antitrust legislation of his own with Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, the chairwoman of the committee in charge of regulating tech giants such as Facebook and Google.
The House antitrust legislation, which passed the House Judiciary Committee in June, includes six sweeping antitrust bills aimed at reining in tech companies such as Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook. It marks Washington’s most significant and serious attempt to reshape the technology industry.
“We’re still negotiating,” Grassley said Monday during a conversation with the Antitrust Education Project — his first public comments on the House antitrust package. “But it has to be a lot different than the bills that came out of House Judiciary.”
Grassley didn’t say what specific changes he would like to see made to the House bills but said he is still working with Klobuchar on what bills and antitrust reform he may be able to support.
"Senator Grassley has been engaged with Senator Klobuchar on a possible companion bill to one of the House bills," George Hartmann, a spokesman for Grassley, said in a statement to the Washington Examiner earlier this month. "Senator Grassley is only working on one of the bills and has not agreed to co-sponsor a bill at this point."
Grassley and Klobuchar have worked together on relevant antitrust legislation in the past, including a bill passed by the Senate in June that provided antitrust enforcers such as the Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department additional resources for evaluating mergers.
Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas is also interested in working on antitrust reform legislation and is involved in talks with Klobuchar and Grassley, a spokesman for Cotton said earlier in the month. Other Republican senators are also said to be in negotiations to support a Senate antitrust bill, including Josh Hawley of Missouri, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Susan Collins of Maine, Politico reported.
Similar to the House antitrust bills, bipartisan Senate legislation could receive opposition from members of both parties due to concerns it could harm innovation and result in unintended consequences to consumers.
On the House side, many Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Judiciary Committee ranking member Jim Jordan of Ohio, oppose the antitrust package in their chamber, arguing the bills fail to address censorship of conservatives online.
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Original Author: Nihal Krishan
Original Location: Top Republican opposes bipartisan House antitrust package