WASHINGTON — Congress should grant federal antitrust enforcers more resources to take on Silicon Valley’s giants, a key House Judiciary Republican says in a report circulated Monday — while warning against yet-to-be-unveiled Democratic proposals that would make it easier to take steps such as breaking up companies.
The draft report, obtained by POLITICO, offers the first concrete glimpse into the findings and recommendations that Judiciary’s Democratic-led House antitrust subcommittee is set to offer as part of its 16-monthlong investigation into the state of competition online. That probe has zeroed into the business practices of Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple.
The minority report: Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado, a Republican on the House antitrust subcommittee, wrote in the draft that while he agrees with the committee’s Democratic majority that “antitrust enforcement
The remarks signal areas of both significant agreement and disagreement between congressional Democrats and Republicans on how to ratchet up scrutiny of the world’s biggest tech companies.
According to the memo, the final report will offer “a menu of potential changes” to existing law aimed at addressing bipartisan concerns that the tech giants have unfairly squelched or scooped up competitors to detriment of their users. The recommendations will include a ban on certain types of mergers, such as on “future acquisitions of potential rivals and start-ups” by major platforms. But Republicans are unlikely to back Democrats’ more aggressive reforms, according to the memo.
Buck said he opposes not-yet-unveiled Democratic proposals aimed at “eliminating arbitration clauses and further opening companies up to class action lawsuits.” And he said he rejects antitrust subcommittee Chair David Cicilline’s (D-R.I.) idea of advancing legislation to force structural breakups of major online platforms like Amazon.