Lawmakers prepared antitrust payments to tackle Massive Tech

Drafts of bills about tech competition and antitrust, likely to be introduced by leaders of the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee soon, are circulating among Washington policy circles.

Why it matters: When the bills are formally introduced, it will be the next step in the subcommittee’s antitrust investigation, which last year resulted in a sweeping report (along with a separate report from ranking antitrust member Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado) recommending changes to antitrust law to better keep up with the digital age.

Details: Five draft bills obtained by Axios address interoperability, self-preferencing a company’s own services and features, an update to merger fees and more money for the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice, limiting Big Tech acquisitions and separating platforms from sellers.

  • The bills seen by Axios are discussion drafts and may be introduced by the committee when they are finalized, but the timing is still unclear.
  • The draft text generally reflects ideas committee leaders have discussed in hearings and include areas where Democrats and Republicans on the committee have said they can find agreement.

Yes, but: House Judiciary Committee ranking Republican Jim Jordan of Ohio has generally been wary of aggressive antitrust action, despite his anti- Big Tech stance.

Flashback: Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), leader of the antitrust subcommittee, previously told Axios he planned on introducing a series of bills, with the intention of making them harder for the tech industry to lobby against and ultimately sink.

What to watch: Industry supporters are likely to see the bills as an overreach that will hurt businesses and consumers, while proponents of breaking up Big Tech and reforming antitrust law will welcome them.

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