New Klobuchar Antitrust Bill Roils Senate Democratic Caucus

In private conversations with reporters, a faction of Senate Democrats are voicing their displeasure and concerns surrounding Senator Amy Klobuchar’s (D-Minn.) radical antitrust bill – the American Innovation and Choice Online Act. POLITICO reports that “10 people familiar with the matter” told them that they are concerned that “the measure could threaten their chances of holding their slim majority,” vastly complicating AICOA’s path to 60 votes in the Senate.  

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has committed to putting the American Innovation and Choice Act on the floor early this summer. However, the POLITICO report indicates that Democrats are in total disarray in their attempts to legislate with their slim majority ahead of the midterm elections. According to POLITICO, “several Democratic senators have privately expressed deep reservations about voting for the legislation, particularly with a midterm election looming, in their conversations with Schumer and other Democratic offices.” 

These senators, worried about their midterm prospects, want the Senate focused on issues that the American people actually care about – such as the rising rate of inflation. POLITICO quoted a “Senate aide who criticized the legislation as a ‘pet project’ with little political payoff” that said, ‘“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 Senate aide was also 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?”

Recent polling trends reflect these concerns as a Gallup poll surveying 2,000 Americans was released with 52% of Americans naming inflation as their most important issue, whereas antitrust did not even rank as an issue of concern for voters. In fact, this legislation is likely to make the issue of rising costs even worse for Americans, as was noted by Obama Administration National Economic Council Director Larry Summers this week. 

Progressives are insistent on ramming through their radical antitrust agenda no matter how it impacts their constituents. Instead, the American people want lawmakers to address pocketbook issues like inflation and skyrocketing gas prices. Vulnerable Senate Democrats may be seeing these two differing realities too late as Democratic leadership seems dedicated to pushing Klobuchar’s misguided legislation regardless of any American economic or political realities.