Rep. Ken Buck on Wednesday criticized congressional leaders for failing to hold votes on antitrust bills targeting large tech companies.
The Colorado Republican helped craft a series of antitrust proposals that have been mired in committees and stymied from reaching the House floor for debate and a vote.
“There’s something wrong with a system of government that sits on six bills for a year,” Mr. Buck said. “By the way, we’ve passed a lot of post-office-naming bills. We’ve passed a lot of other bills in the House. We have had some false starts on some major pieces of legislation but we have not addressed the threat to our democracy, the threat to free speech that big tech poses.”
One of the bills is the American Innovation and Choice Online Act that Mr. Buck authored with Rep. David Cicilline, Rhode Island Democrat. It was intended to stop big tech companies such as Amazon from giving preference to their products to the detriment of competitors’ products. Companion legislation was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota Democrat, and Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican.
During a press event with the bill’s other authors, Mr. Buck said Congress’ Democratic leaders allowed the bill to languish during a 16-month House investigation of big tech companies and then 29 hours of committee meetings to review the legislation.
Ms. Klobuchar unveiled a revised version of the bill last month. She said Wednesday that the bill has undergone more than 100 changes since the original House version was introduced and she did not want it watered down with more revisions.
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With the campaign season underway, the window for advancing the bills is rapidly closing.
“This bill has to pass in June,” Mr. Buck said. “There are other bills that have to pass in June and we have to be able to tell the American people that Congress works, that we are working on their behalf, and that we care about them.”
Ms. Klobuchar said Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer promised to hold a Senate vote in early summer, though the legislation won’t get a vote until it has the requisite 60 votes for a bill to survive in the upper chamber.
“We need to have the vote because once you go on into the days of August, we know — as has been pointed out — that it’s not going to get done and we need to get it done,” Ms. Klobuchar said.