Majority Leader Chuck Schumer plans to put the antitrust bill designed to rein in Big Tech up for a vote — likely in the fall – the Democrat’s spokesperson exclusively told The Post.
“Sen. Schumer is working with Sen. (Amy) Klobuchar and other supporters to gather the needed votes and plans to bring it up for a vote,” Angelo Roefaro, Schumer’s spokesperson, told The Post in a statement referring to antitrust legislation.
A Hill source close to the legislation says there are still some concerns that need to be ironed out — like worries that cracking down on tech could also hurt the companies’ content moderation efforts.
The source also told The Post that Democrats are worried about getting enough Republicans for the 60 votes needed to pass the bill — which means Democrats in the 50-50 Senate need to be “airtight.”
Schumer’s on-the-record commitment comes after The Post reported the bill’s top Republican backer, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, slammed Schumer for dragging his feet.
“It’s past time that the Majority Leader bring up our bipartisan antitrust bill cracking down on Big Tech’s anticompetitive behavior,” Grassley told The Post last month. “We need a date certain for a vote, and I call on Sen. Schumer to name one — if not before August recess, then this fall.”
After years of pushing for the legislation, antitrust advocates are thrilled by the promise that Schumer will move the legislation forward.
“It’s clear that what hasn’t killed this bill made it stronger,” Luther Lowe, senior vice president of Public Policy at Yelp, told The Post. “Hundreds of millions have been spent to slow down this legislation and those efforts haven’t worked.”
Even as Schumer publicly applauded the legislation, saying it’s a “high-priority,” he had delayed bringing anything to the floor despite reports he would move the legislation forward earlier this summer.
The bipartisan bill, co-sponsored by Grassley and Klobuchar (D-Minn.), would reduce the power of tech giants like Amazon and Meta to stifle market competition.
The Internet Innovation and Choice Act — or so-called “non-discrimination bill” — would stop platforms from “self-preferencing” their content. For instance, Amazon would no longer be able to promote its own goods over third-party sellers on its e-commerce platform.
Last Saturday, Klobuchar said on MSNBC she and Schumer have discussed bringing the bill to the floor in the fall.
While Schumer has bided his time, Amazon, Apple, Meta and Google combined have spent more than $35 million in just the first half of this year on lobbying efforts, Bloomberg reported last week. The companies have also flooded Beltway airwaves with commercials opposing antitrust bills and bought up ad space in influential newsletters like Politico Playbook.
The Post was first to report that both of Schumer’s daughters are on the payroll of companies Schumer is supposed to be regulating.
Of course, even if the bill make it past the Senate, their companion bill would also have to make it past the House — which some insiders say could present an even bigger hurdle.
While Schumer has said he supports the Klobuchar-Grassley bill, House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has not done so, instead saying more generally that she supports tech regulation.
Pelosi has come under scrutiny for profiting from these tech companies, as her husband Paul has made millions actively trading stocks of companies like Google.