KLOBUCHAR: “These dominant tech platforms have abused their power for years, and now we are at a crossroads. Will America continue to be a place where entrepreneurs lead our economy forward or will we become a country where a handful of monopolists get to dictate who gets a chance to succeed?”
KLOBUCHAR: “Now is the time to bring this bill to a vote on the floor.”
WASHINGTON - In a nearly hour-long speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights, emphasized the urgent need to pass the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, her bipartisan legislation with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to restore competition online. This is one in a summer series of speeches on this topic.
“These dominant tech platforms have abused their power for years, and now we are at a crossroads. Will America continue to be a place where entrepreneurs lead our economy forward or will we become a country where a handful of monopolists get to dictate who gets a chance to succeed?,” said Klobuchar. “The decisions we make and the actions we take today will set the trajectory for American innovation, for ingenuity and prosperity for the next generation. I say we must meet the moment.”
“It is competition between companies that gives consumers lower prices, drives manufacturers to constantly innovate and improve products, and…provides opportunities for entrepreneurs to start and grow new businesses... But if you look at our markets today, we see…bigger businesses and fewer competitors and more dominant companies using their market power to suppress their rivals,” Klobuchar continued. “We have been hanging out and waiting and doing nothing for now decades and decades since the advent of the internet and it is time to act...Now it is time to bring this bill to a vote on the floor.”
Klobuchar also spoke out against Big Tech companies’ misleading claims and dishonest tactics in their effort to lobby against the bill: “These big tech companies …are also lobbying the American people with astroturf campaigning and other dishonest PR tactics. … they wouldn’t be spending millions and millions of dollars to stop us if we didn’t have momentum.”
A recording of Klobuchar’s full floor remarks is available for online viewing HERE.
The American Innovation and Choice Online Act has been endorsed by the Center for American Progress, Consumer Reports, the Consumer Federation of America, Public Knowledge, leading national security experts, leading antitrust legal scholars, and small business organizations such as Main Street Alliance, Small Business Rising, The National Association of Wholesale Distributors, and the American Hotel and Lodging Association.
In June, a coalition of more than 60 small and medium-sized companies and trade associations, including Spotify, Wyze, FuboTV and Quora, voiced their support of the legislation, highlighting how it will benefit consumers, spur innovation, and boost economic growth.
The same month, CNBC reported that small business sellers on Amazon are expressing their support for the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, revolting against Amazon’s misleading claims about the legislation.
In May, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo expressed her backing of the legislation. In April, the Department of Justice voiced its strong endorsement of the legislation, encouraging Congress “to work to finalize this legislation and pass it into law.”
Recently, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Service Employees International Union, and the Strategic Organizing Center sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging the legislation’s passage. The labor organizations wrote that the legislation “can and will help turn the tide in favor of working people, so they may share in the prosperity they help create every day…and help prevent these digital behemoths from…stifling the equality and fairness in the economy that workers so urgently need and deserve.” Additionally, a coalition of 58 non-profit and public policy organizations also wrote a letter endorsing the bill.
In January, the bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee by a bipartisan vote of 16-6, making it the first major bill on technology competition to advance to the Senate floor since the dawn of the Internet.
In December, coalition of 35 small and medium tech companies including Yelp, Sonos, Patreon, Y Combinator, and DuckDuckGo urged the legislation’s passage, citing the need to “help restore competition in the digital marketplace and remove barriers for consumers to choose the services they want.”
In October, Klobuchar and Grassley introduced the American Innovation and Choice Online Act to set commonsense rules of the road for major digital platforms to ensure they cannot unfairly preference their own products and services. Representatives David Cicilline (D-RI) and Ken Buck (R-CO) lead companion legislation in the House, which passed the House Judiciary Committee by a bipartisan vote of 24-20 last June.
The Senate legislation is cosponsored by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), John Kennedy (R-LA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Mark Warner (D-VA), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).