KLOBUCHAR: “We cannot stand by and do nothing while digital giants…gobble up more businesses, gobble up bigger and bigger slices of our economy. This is our moment right now”
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights returned to the Senate floor to urge a vote on the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, her bipartisan legislation with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to restore competition online. This is the second in a series of speeches on this topic, following Klobuchar’s nearly one-hour long speech last week.
“We are at another moment in history right now…What's at stake is the very idea that drives our economy forward: competitive markets…If we don't act now, we will entrench those [Big Tech] companies further, making it even more difficult for innovators to bring new products to market and for small and medium size companies across America to grow online,” said Klobuchar. “We just need an even playing field in the marketplace. Innovation that is vital to our American economy cannot thrive without open, competitive markets. It's competition that pressures manufacturers to invest in research and development, to constantly innovate to improve their products and introduce new products. It is competition that provides opportunities for entrepreneurs to develop new ideas and start new businesses.”
“We cannot stand by and do nothing while digital giants…gobble up more businesses, gobble up bigger and bigger slices of our economy. This is our moment right now. I urge my colleagues to bring this bill to the floor. I've gotten a commitment to get a vote on this bill,” continued Klobuchar. “We know that we are up against a lot. If they think I'll get scared by that, think again. I'm ready to roll.”
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).