Tomorrow, the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to markup (e.g. finalize edits to) a tech regulation bill from Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) called S. 2992, the American Innovation and Choice Online Act.
We oppose the bill and have been sounding the alarm about the harmful, unintended consequences it could trigger (i.e., killing Amazon Prime, blocking iPhones with pre-loaded apps, and preventing Google Maps from popping up in search results).
The bill would likely cause small businesses to lose the competitive advantages that allow them to compete successfully on a global scale. It would turn back the clock on Internet shopping innovation to restrict choice and jack up prices.
Senator Klobuchar and others are on a path to end services like Amazon Prime’s fast and free shipping and other services that we depend upon. What’s troubling is that Klobuchar & co. would obliterate what’s known as “the current consumer welfare standard,” weakening it for something that is not consumer-focused.
As my colleague Patrice Onwuka explains:
“According to the consumer welfare standard, the purpose of antitrust law is to protect consumers based on objective, economic analysis. If a firm engages in activities that raise prices, lowers outputs, reduces efficiency, or otherwise harms competition, it could be in violation of antitrust law. There must be quantifiable evidence of those harms, not just personal opinion. The size of a company as measured by revenue, assets, market cap, or other markers of ‘big’ companies do not necessarily signal consumer harm. This is a reasonable standard focused on outcomes.”
As we discussed in an IWF Policy Chat forum last month, conservatives who uphold the virtue of free-market solutions over the expansion of government control should not embrace these “reforms.” If they think this is about stopping censorship of conservative voices, it’s not. And don’t for one moment believe that the party in power will not weaponize antitrust reforms against the other side.
There’s still time to contact your Senator and House member and tell them to stop this ill-conceived bill that could very well further disrupt our already fragile supply chain. We hope you’ll do just that.