Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and co-sponsors of her pet project, the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, have spent the past summer wishcasting support for the bill. At the same time, they held out hope that Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) would follow through on his alleged promise to put the bill on the Senate floor for a vote this summer. At long last, however, Senator Klobuchar finally sees the writing on the wall. During a Saturday appearance on MSNBC, Senator Klobuchar admitted that Senate is now planning on “hav[ing] this vote in the fall.” Based on the outcome of the Senate’s previous plans, it may not be wise to hold out hope for these plans to be any different.
This change of plans come amidst a multitude of evidence that proves the lack of interest and value in weaponizing antitrust law for the American people. An array of polls, such as those commissioned by Gallup and The Trafalgar Group, showed that Americans primarily care about inflation, and have little interest in antitrust reform. Obama Administration National Economic Council Director Larry Summers bolstered the significance of these polls with his warnings that the policies pursued in this bill could “easily” have inflationary effects. In addition to his concerns, organic bipartisan opposition to the legislation emerged as the US Chamber of Commerce, Wall Street Journal Editorial Board, and multiple Senate Democrats, whose aides confided their reservations to the press on the condition of anonymity, expressed serious doubts about the legislation.
It has been reported since May that failure to put the AICOA on the Senate floor by August would doom any chances of the bill from passing. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), one of the bill’s primary sponsors, admitted as much when he told Axios, “Once the summer break happens, it’s going to be harder to get people focused on big issues.” Convincing the American people that the issues addressed in the AICOA were particularly “big” already proved to be impossible during the summer. As inflation has only risen since then, Americans will be even less to this message in the fall than they might have been in the summer.
Senator Klobuchar has essentially waved the white flag of defeat. She will have to wait until the midterms at the latest for her pet project to have a real chance of becoming law. Until then, American consumers struggling with generation-high inflation can breathe a temporary sigh of relief.
Photo Credit: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from Washington D.C, United States, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons