Center for American Progress: Congress should take “meaningful action to enhance consumer choice and competition online by passing this bipartisan bill into law”

WASHINGTON – In a new report published today, the Center for American Progress (CAP) expressed its support for U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA)’s bipartisan legislation to restore online competition, emphasizing how the American Innovation and Choice Online Act will benefit consumers and small businesses and spur innovation.

CAP praised the legislation as “likely to protect American consumers, small businesses, and innovation online,” adding that Congress should take “meaningful action to enhance consumer choice and competition online by passing this bipartisan bill into law.”

From the report

  • “By purposefully targeting the anti-competitive practices of most concern, the bill offer[s] the United States a means to materially improve consumer choice in the near term and create a more dynamic online economy in the long term.”
  • “American Innovation prohibits a number of unfair, discriminatory behaviors for covered platforms, giving competitors a chance to innovate and a fair shot at providing new choices to the American people.” 
  • The legislation would “help unlock the potential of Americans to grow successful businesses and build an economy that is more prosperous, equitable, and innovative…introducing competitive incentives for improved quality, innovation, and competitive prices for American consumers.”
  • “The bill can immediately remove barriers that cause significant inconveniences between popular services on covered platforms…over time, this bill will reduce costs and increase choices for consumers.”
  • The legislation helps small businesses by offering “an improved chance at growing a business that is not undermined by anti-competitive actions from the platforms on which they rely to reach consumers.”

The report also pushed back against the falsehoods being propagated by Big Tech companies and their lobbyists:

  • Under the legislation, “platforms still have wide latitude to make privacy and security improvements on their platforms as they see fit.”
  • “The bill primarily affect[s] security and privacy by reintroducing much-needed competitive pressure. Over time, more competitive markets can provide incentives and opportunities for greater innovation, which can result in the development of more secure and better privacy-preserving technologies.”
  • Critiques surrounding national security concerns are “deeply misleading…creating a level playing field online will help maintain the dynamic, competitive U.S. markets that are a major source of economic and global power.”
  • “A greater diversity of businesses facing real competition will offer consumers more choice in moderation approaches. Such competition can get away from the monoculture of today’s search and social media services, making the information ecosystem more resilient to informational manipulation and threats.”

This support builds on growing momentum for the American Innovation and Choice Online Act. The legislation has been endorsed by a variety of small business organizations, including Small Business Rising, Main Street Alliance, the National Association of Wholesale Distributors, and the American Hotel and Lodging Association. 

Last month, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo expressed her support for 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. 

The Washington Post Editorial Board and Boston Globe Editorial Board have also expressed their support for the legislation

In February, 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 January, a coalition of 35 small and medium tech companies including Yelp, Sonos, Patreon, Y Combinator, and DuckDuckGo wrote a letter urging the legislation’s passage.

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 July. 

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).