Economic Liberties’ Statement on the Bipartisan Passage of Big Tech Antitrust Bills

June 24, 2021 Press Release

Washington, D.C. — The American Economic Liberties Project released the following statement in response to the House Judiciary Committee’s bipartisan passage of Big Tech antitrust bills.

The markup today by the House Judiciary Committee proves that bipartisan appetite to break the power of Big Tech is real,” said Sarah Miller, Executive Director of the American Economic Liberties Project. Congress stood up to the most powerful corporations, and breaking up these firms now seems inevitable.” 

“The committee achieved a number of important objectives. It passed two bills that would increase funding for the antitrust agencies and stop the ability of monopolists to forum shop in antitrust cases involving state attorneys general that should be signed into law as soon as possible. Along with Lina Khan as the Chair of the Federal Trade Commission, these bills alone could translate into the most important strengthening of federal antitrust enforcement in 50 years,” added Miller. “At the same time, the committee also passed tech-specific bills intending to break up the tech giants and addressmonopolistic practices including self-preferencing, blocking rivals and partners from connecting to their critical services, and buying out competitors.

“We are encouraged the committee took action to address these problems, and we are delighted that the committee voted explicitly to split apart and simplify these firms. As Congressman Mondaire Jones noted, unless we break these companies up, they will continue to be above the law.’”

Going forward, addressing Big Tech’s abuses effectively as intended will require adjustments to the legislation. There are two challenges to be overcome. First, the bills defer excessive authority over critical policy decisions to regulators. Second, the bills rely on language that will be narrowly interpreted by the judiciary to define what types of corporate behavior is and is not permissible. Since judges today tend to be hostile to the appropriate enforcement of antitrust laws, this would likely retain the monopoly-friendly status quo, contrary to Congressional intent. We encourage Congress to continue to develop and advance structural separation and merger legislation that would set clear, specific rules of the road for market participants.

Protecting working people, honest businesses, entrepreneurs, communities, and our democratic institutions from four of the world’s most pernicious monopolies is an urgent task, and one that we’re confident that Congress, working alongside the enforcement agencies and state authorities, will complete. added Miller. 

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The American Economic Liberties Project works to ensure America’s system of commerce is structured to advance, rather than undermine, economic liberty, fair commerce, and a secure, inclusive democracy. Economic Liberties believes true economic liberty means entrepreneurs and businesses large and small succeed on the merits of their ideas and hard work; commerce empowers consumers, workers, farmers, and engineers instead of subjecting them to discrimination and abuse from financiers and monopolists; foreign trade arrangements support domestic security and democracy; and wealth is broadly distributed to support equitable political power.