By: Tom Hebert
Eight House Democrats called on Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other top Democrats to delay the markup of the antitrust package spearheaded by Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.).
Reps. Suzan DelBene, Scott Peters, Sharice Davids, Ann McLane Kuster, Chrissy Houlahan, Kathy Manning, Bradley Schneider, and Stacey Plaskett signed the letter.
Given that the Cicilline package would have wide-ranging impacts across the U.S. economy if implemented, the signatories call for full legislative hearings on each bill:
That is why we believe it is important that the Committee delay the markup and hold full legislative hearings on these proposals to ensure they are thoroughly examined and provide Members with the ability to fully utilize their policy expertise to ensure we craft sound legislation with the broadest coalition of support. Members should be given the opportunity to engage in substantive drafting, debate, amendments, and consideration of this legislation to ensure it truly represents the best interests of the American people.
Click here to read the full letter.
Here’s some context – on June 11th, the House antitrust subcommittee released five bills that represent the most sweeping rewrite of antitrust law in a century. Instead of holding full hearings on each of the bills, the package is being rushed to a full Committee markup this week with little input from rank-and-file members.
The bills seek to regulate “covered platforms,” defined as companies with over 50 million monthly users and $600b in market capitalization or net sales.
If implemented, these bills would significantly restrict targeted companies from engaging in routine business conduct. One bill bans targeted companies from acquiring smaller companies, choking off a key pathway to success for startups. Another bill would allow the government to structurally separate targeted companies that operate a line of business that an unelected bureaucrat deems to be a “conflict of interest.” Another bill effectively bans targeted companies from promoting private label goods to shoppers, which makes as much sense as banning grocery stores from selling generic cereal.
Taken together, this package would impact the goods and services Americans use every day. Apple would no longer be able to operate the App Store or pre-install apps like Facetime and iMessage on new devices. Amazon could no longer offer free Prime shipping or AmazonBasics products. Google could no longer display Youtube links or Google Maps directions when searched. The list goes on.
The drafters seem to be confused about the full scope of the package’s impact. Cicilline himself admitted that he doesn’t even know if Microsoft would be a covered platform, and that the ultimate decision would rest in the hands of Biden bureaucrats to decide which companies to target with antitrust action.
Even Democrats agree that this process has been rushed from top to bottom. The House Judiciary Committee should delay the markup of the Cicilline antitrust package and hold full hearings on each of the bills.