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Congress Struggles to Pass Big Tech Reform Bill

New legislation that targets Big Tech platforms has successfully passed both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. The bill is expected to reach the Senate Floor this November.

The nation’s largest internet platforms, commonly known as Big Tech, are under fire for potential consumer choice violations. The bipartisan bill, which is sponsored by the Senate Judiciary Committee Antitrust Subcommittee, pushes for antitrust reform for social media and big tech companies. But, as midterm elections loom, some in congress are hoping to run out the clock. 

Being pushed for two years, the bill, called the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, is a draft proposal that would issue civil penalties against platforms like Facebook, Google, Twitter, Apple, and Amazon for inapt use of user data collecting. So far, the bill is backed by several political leaders such as one of the bill’s chief sponsors’, Ken Buck (R-CO) and Senate Judiciary Committee Antitrust Subcommittee leaders Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA).

Despite the legislation’s public support, the bill continues to face powerful opposition, namely from the California Delegation, which represents Silicon Valley.

 Silicon Valley is the home to several of these platforms. What’s more, Big Tech and their trade groups have spent $95 million lobbying against the bill. All this about a month prior to the November elections.

“I don’t see it going to the floor,” said Michael Petricone, senior vice president of government affairs at the Consumer Technology Association, a trade group that counts Amazon, Google and Facebook among its members. “With an election coming up, I expect senators to come back and focus on issues that are popular with voters. Tech regulation is not one of those issues.” 

The bill needs 60 votes to pass. While facing last-minute turmoil, Klobuchar and other members of congress remain optimistic about the bill’s progress. “Once this bill comes to the floor for a vote, we are confident it will pass,” Klobuchar told Bloomberg News.

[Sources: The Wall Street Journal; Bloomberg News; Madison.com; Associated Press; Image Credit: alpha-sense.com]

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