Sen. Biden needs to play an active role in Big Tech antitrust bill Grassley demands

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A top Republican sponsor of the stalled no-confidence bill demanded that President Joe Biden take an “active role” in ending the nearly year-long standoff over bipartisan legislation that has been divisive over Big Tech.

Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, Sen. for The Internet Innovation and Choice Act. Co-sponsored with Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Biden wants to urge Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to include elements of the impugned bill in the omnibus package. To be completed by the end of the year.

“If the president wants to get anything done on this front, the White House needs to start taking an active role in pushing Speaker Schumer and the Democratic caucus to bring this bill to a vote before the end of the year,” Grassley told The Post.

Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly hammered out a framework for the appropriations bill Wednesday — barring a government shutdown. However, the details are yet to be finalized ahead of the final vote this week.

“Sen. “Grassley needs to pick up the phone and tell Mitch McConnell everything he’s telling The Post,” Schumer’s spokesman, Angelo Rofaro, told The Post on Thursday.

Amy Klobuchar
Sen. Amy Klobuchar is a supporter of the Internet Innovation and Choice Act.
AP/Alex Brandon

The no-confidence bill passed the House in February, but languished in the Senate despite Schumer’s continued vow to bring it to a vote. This prevents sites from “self-prioritizing” content. For example, Amazon can no longer advertise its own products on its e-commerce site over third-party sellers.

The bill faced massive headwinds from Big Tech lobbyists. Amazon, Apple, Meta and Google combined spent more than $35 million on lobbying efforts in the first half of the year, according to Bloomberg.

Companies have bought ads on the Beltway airwaves opposing antitrust bills and ad space in influential newsletters like the Politico Playbook.

“If you don’t count all the paychecks for working in big tech, Schumer is the last person in Washington to hold this legislation,” said Luther Lowe, senior vice president of public policy at Yelp.

Proponents of antitrust law say an omnibus package to match government funding for next year is the perfect vehicle to end the impasse.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that Congress will vote on a government funding bill for seven more days this week.
Countless lawmakers have children working in big tech.
Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for SEIU

Insiders say there is a big push from lawmakers who support the antitrust law to add key provisions from other proposed bills that seek to block Big Tech.

“Even those who bemoan where the commas go in the omnibus aren’t opposed to legislation that would restrict tech companies,” an insider told The Post. “Leveling the playing field in the Big Tech space is not very controversial.”

Big Tech has more money against bad bills. At least 17 lawmakers overseeing Meta, Amazon, Google and Apple have children who work or recently worked at those companies, Politico reported.

U.S. Rep. Joe Lofgren — a Democrat who has been one of the most vocal opponents of antitrust bills targeting Big Tech making their way through Congress — has a daughter who works on Google’s legal team.

The Post also reported that both of Schumer’s daughters are on the payroll of big tech companies. According to New York state records, Jessica Schumer is a registered lobbyist at Amazon. Alison Schumer works as a product marketing manager at Facebook.

People close to Schumer say he has put off a vote on the innovation bill while focusing on other priorities, such as codifying same-sex marriage and passing the so-called deflationary law.

But many Republicans are frustrated by Schumer’s failure to take on Big Tech.

“Sen. Schumer has been paying lip service to antitrust reform for over a year now,” Garrett Ventry, former chief of staff for Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), told The Post.

“If President Biden really wants antitrust reform, he will push Schumer to include it in the omnibus,” Ventry added.


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