A rift amongst conservatives over Silicon Valley is seen in the Republican leadership’s opposition to the anti-Big Tech antitrust legislation.
The legislation cleared the House Judiciary Committee in June and comprised six anti-trust proposals aimed at Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google.
Liberal Democrats who distrust big corporations, and conservative Republicans who view Big Tech as a danger to free expression, like Colorado Republican Ken Buck, support the bill.
Republican leadership has sided with industry in opposing bipartisan anti-Big Tech antitrust bills gaining momentum in the House, highlighting a split among conservatives regarding Silicon Valley…. https://t.co/RGloIEOame
— SkyNet Platforms: #TheBrain (@SkyNetPlatform) March 23, 2022
Rejection from Republicans
However, many Republicans, notably Judiciary Committee Ranking member Jim Jordan of Ohio, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, rejected the proposals, citing government overreach.
According to another senior Republican staffer, barely 10 to 20 of the 210-member House GOP caucus back the bipartisan anti-trust laws.
Aides to Pelosi say she will soon meet with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and David Cicilline to decide which bills to advance.
There will likely be a lot of talks about which proposals have the most support from both sides before votes are bundled to support them on the House floor, an aide said.
Three of the bipartisan House bills have bipartisan Senate counterparts that have also gotten out of committee.
They aim to give state attorneys general more authority over where anti-trust lawsuits are filed, restrict platforms from unfairly favoring their products and services, and force Apple and Google to start opening their app stores to rivals.
A bipartisan package of anti-Big Tech antitrust bills is facing significant opposition from centrist Dems, one of the largest caucuses in Congress, who are fighting for consumers and the tech firms themselves.
— Nihal Jaytirth Krishan (@NihalKrishan) July 6, 2021
Buck, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, Utah Rep. Burgess Owens, and Texas Rep. Chip Roy have all strongly backed the anti-trust legislation. House Republicans back House Democrats who favor anti-trust reform.
A senior Democratic official expects Democrats to bring three pieces of antitrust legislation to the House floor in the coming months, owing to recent bipartisan backing in the Senate.
Buck, the main Republican sponsoring the measures, expects GOP support on the House floor. The IT industry, which has been very against the anti-trust proposals, is downplaying the bill’s chances of passing.
Many anti-trust laws are opposed by Democrats from California, home to Silicon Valley and many tech businesses. They say that these laws could hurt innovation and the free market.
California Democrat Reps. Karen Bass, Zoe Lofgren, and Eric Swalwell have stated that the bill will harm a good number of their constituents.
“There’s no reason to suppose Democrats’ views on these proposals have altered. The proposals haven’t been changed to suit moderate Democrats. In light of this, the rhetoric of party unity to pass these laws is just that,” Kovacevich said.
Some conservative tech industry sources doubted the anti-trust proposals’ potential to gain Republican backing.
Buck’s support for the law comes from his dislike for a few corporations, which makes him not see how bad this policy is for American businesses, says Szabo.