WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Lawmakers say they are concerned tech giants have successfully killed a bipartisan bill in Congress that would apply new regulations to the online marketplace.
“My guess is it won’t see the light of day,” Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said of the bill he and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, cosponsored.
They fear a recent pressure campaign from big tech companies including Google, Amazon and Apple has worked. Grassley said companies have spent more than $36 million in ads and lobbying trying to bring the bill down, which he said “shows you the real power that they have.”
Grassley said the bill is designed to stop big tech companies from prioritizing their products and services over those of smaller vendors.
“It’s a matter of fairness, it’s a matter of the government being a referee to make sure the marketplace works,” Grassley said.
But NetChoice, which represents companies like Google, Amazon and Apple, says the bill is bad news for consumers.
“It will remove beloved services like Amazon Prime shipping,” Carl Szabo of NetChoice said. “So really, who is Congress trying to protect? Is it trying to protect American consumers or is trying to protect corporations?”
He said what big tech does is simply good business:
“Take an idea and make it better, cheaper, faster. We see it all the time, we see it at supermarkets with generic alternatives,” Szabo said. “This just the same thing, it just happens to be online.”
Grassley said he believes the bill has the support to pass but so far, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has not scheduled a vote.