Is Chuck Schumer going to let Big Tech quash popular antitrust reform?

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Big Tech has spent tens of millions lobbying to stop bipartisan, popular antitrust reforms, and it seems Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is granting that wish, though he’s trying to blame Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The American Innovation and Choice Online Act, co-sponsored by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), passed the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 16-6; the Open App Markets Act, co-sponsored by Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), by 20-2. Each has also passed out of committee in the House.

The first bill would stop large platforms like Google, Amazon and Facebook from promoting their products over competitors’; the second bans Google and Apple from making developers use their app stores (with a 30% “tax”) to sell to consumers.  

Polling shows that roughly three-quarters of Americans support each; we endorsed them all the way back in June 2021.

For months, Schumer has promised to allow floor votes on the bills, even calling it “high priority” . . . but hasn’t gotten around to it, though the Biden White House says it supports them, too.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has prevented Big Tech antitrust bills from going to a vote in the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has prevented Big Tech antitrust bills from going to a vote in the Senate.
Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

That’s led Grassley and others to push for including both measures in the “omnibus” bill being readied for votes this week to fund the government for the new year, even asking President Joe Biden to intervene.

“The White House has been clear in its support for this legislation, and Sen. Schumer promised to get it done,” Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), told Fox News last week. “It’s time to hold a vote on this historic, bipartisan legislation and deliver for small businesses, consumers and innovators.”

“Continually allowing the big tech companies to dominate policy decisions in Washington is no longer a viable option,” warns Klobuchar.

Schumer's camp has tried to blame Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for the bills not going to a vote.
Schumer’s camp has tried to blame Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for the bills not going to a vote.
Photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images
The American Innovation and Choice Online Act sponsored by Sen Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Chuck Grassley would prevent platforms like Amazon from promoting their products over competitors.
The American Innovation and Choice Online Act sponsored by Sen Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Chuck Grassley would prevent platforms like Amazon from promoting their products over competitors.
Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

It’s possible that the true holdup is Speaker Nancy Pelosi; her ally Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) is a vocal opponent of these measures. (As it happens, Lofgren’s daughter works on Google’s legal team, while the Pelosis have made big money off Big Tech stock-trading.) Or maybe McConnell did balk, as Schumer’s camp has reportedly claimed.

On the other hand, Schumer has his own family Big Tech ties: One of his daughters works for Facebook, another for Google — as a lobbyist.

Yet earlier this year, Schumer supposedly committed to a vote this past summer. Then, in August, Schumer spokesman Angelo Roefaro told The Post: “Sen. Schumer is working with Sen. Klobuchar and other supporters to gather the needed votes and plans to bring it up for a vote.”

One of Schumer's daughters works for Google as a lobbyist.
One of Schumer’s daughters works for Google as a lobbyist.
Photo by Olly Curtis/Future via Getty Images

Again, the committee votes show major bipartisan support for both bills; the White House claims to be on board as well. So including them in the omnibus should make it easier to pass. And if the House and Senate don’t act this month, it’s back to square one.

There’s no way opponents to these popular reforms have the votes to shut down the government over this issue; some backroom deal is at work here. Is that really enough for Schumer to break his word again?

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