Today, Americans for Tax Reform and a coalition of 46 free-market groups and activists urged Republican lawmakers to reject the “American Innovation and Choice Online Act” sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). The bill would expand the size and scope of government, exacerbate inflationary pressure on American families, and fails to address legitimate conservative concerns over Big Tech censorship.
Read the letter here or below.
Dear Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy,
We write in opposition to S. 2992, the “American Innovation and Choice Online Act,” legislation that would massively expand the size and scope of the federal government.
Despite what some politicians may claim, Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s antitrust bill gives the Biden Administration vast new regulatory authority over American businesses, fails to address conservative censorship concerns and would make inflation worse for American families.
Conservatives have legitimate concerns over Big Tech’s targeting of conservative speech and the creeping influence of non-economic issues in the business decisions of America’s largest companies. In reaction to this problem, a few Republicans have co-sponsored the Klobuchar bill with the hope that it will help reduce discrimination against conservative voices online.
In reality, the bill would worsen these issues by forcing targeted companies into a “mother-may-I” relationship with the federal government. The institutional Left is in universal agreement about the effects the bill will have. The Center for American Progress endorsed the bill on the grounds that it will spur “much needed improvements in content moderation and technologies.”
Whatever so-called “improvements” that the left has in mind for content moderation will certainly not work out in favor of conservatives’ free speech. If conservatives are unhappy with the status quo, just imagine Big Tech targeting conservative speech on behalf of Biden bureaucrats.
S. 2992 outlaws a slew of routine business activity for companies with over $550 billion in market cap and 50 million monthly users. If a business runs afoul of these new government mandates, the government can levy a fine of up to 10 percent of the business’ revenue.
Supporters promise the bill will only apply to four or five American companies…for now. This bill opens the door for future government regulation based on the size of a company, a government cap on innovation and a permanent dial that Democrats can use to trap more companies under the heavy hand of government control.
While supporters claim this is the first serious antitrust bill in nearly a century, S. 2992 hardly resembles antitrust law as traditionally understood. For almost 50 years, the consumer welfare standard has anchored American antitrust law. Antitrust enforcers generally do not act unless consumers are being harmed via tangible effects like higher prices, reduced innovation, or lower quality.
S. 2992 would push the U.S. towards a European-style approach, where the government picks economic winners and losers and targets politically disfavored companies with frivolous lawsuits. Bureaucrats win, consumers lose.
For policy and political reasons alike, it seems foolish for Republicans to help Democrats ram through such a sweeping regulatory bill as the midterms approach. Pocketbook issues like generation-high inflation and skyrocketing gas prices are top of mind for American families.
A recent Gallup poll shows 52 percent of Americans name inflation as their top issue – antitrust does not even rank. The last thing families and consumers need is a law that would restrict access to the generic products that they reach for in order to make ends meet.
Even some Democrats admit that S. 2992 will increase inflationary pressure on American families. One Democrat aide blasted the bill as Sen. Klobuchar’s “pet project” with little political payoff, saying “We should be focused on items that will help consumers deal with rising costs…[and] nobody can figure out why it would be a priority.” Another aide was quoted asking, “Does the Klobuchar bill reduce rising costs in the short term for consumers? No. So why would it be a focus between now and the election?”
The Klobuchar bill would grow the size and scope of government, worsen conservative censorship, and increase inflationary pressure on American families. Instead of addressing pocketbook issues, Sen. Klobuchar’s top priority is empowering Biden bureaucrats before Democrats lose control of Congress. Republicans should not throw Sen. Klobuchar a lifeline.
President, Americans for Tax Reform
Robert H. Bork, Jr.
Dr. Arthur B. Laffer
Chair, Alabama Center-Right Coalition
President, American Business Defense Council
President, American Commitment
President/CEO, American Consumer Institute
President, Americans for Limited Government
Brent Wm. Gardner
Chief Government Affairs Officer, Americans for Prosperity
Chair, Annapolis Center Right Coalition Meeting
James L. Martin
Founder/Chairman, 60 Plus Association
Saulius “Saul” Anuzis
President, 60 Plus Association
Chairman, The Capitalist League
Daniel J. Mitchell
Chairman, Center for Freedom and Prosperity
Andrew F. Quinlan
President, Center for Freedom and Prosperity
President, Center for Individual Freedom
Director of Policy, Committee for Justice
President, Committee for Justice
Executive Director, Conservatives for Property Rights
Deputy Director, Consumer Choice Center
Interim Director, Digital Liberty
Vice President, FreedomWorks
President, Frontiers of Freedom
Mario H. Lopez
President, Hispanic Leadership Fund
Heather R. Higgins
CEO, Independent Women’s Voice
President, Institute for Policy Innovation
Vice President of Policy, James Madison Institute
Tech & Innovation Policy Analyst, Libertas Institute
President, Market Institute
Rodolfo E. Milani
Miami Freedom Forum
Chairman, New Hampshire Republican Party
President, Pine Tree Public Policy Institute
Co-chairman, New Hampshire Center Right Coalition Meeting
Former Speaker, NH House of Representatives
Chairman, Pine Tree Public Policy Institute
Co-chairman, New Hampshire Center Right Coalition Meeting
Director, Pelican Center for Technology and Innovation
Executive Director, Property Rights Alliance
Executive Director, Ohioans for Tax Reform
President, Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs
Executive Director, Open Competition Center
Executive Director, Shareholder Advocacy Forum
President, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council
President, Strategic Coalitions & Initiatives LLC
Executive Director, Taxpayers Protection Alliance
President, Utah Taxpayers Association
Executive Director, Young Voices
Cc: House Republican Conference
Senate Republican Conference