- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Sen. Amy Klobuchar ripped Congress for failing to restrict Big Tech platforms’ businesses, as the Minnesota Democrat is renewing her effort to pass antitrust legislation aimed at the tech behemoths following a GOP takeover of the House. 

Ms. Klobuchar, who leads the Senate’s top antitrust panel, said that federal lawmakers had little to show for their efforts to rein in Big Tech in recent years. 

She said at an antitrust panel hearing on Tuesday that she counted more than 150 hearings on tech issues in the last Congress and she did not observe much of a significance getting done as a result. 

“We have done nothing in terms of setting standards when it comes to tech,” Ms. Klobuchar said. “Nothing out of the Congress on privacy, nothing out of the Congress on updating the children’s protection bills when it comes to the internet, nothing on the Congress when it comes to dominance on the platforms and self-preferencing, nothing out of the Congress on AI.”

Ms. Klobuchar said people should reach their own determination about why Congress failed to pass her desired bills to battle tech companies, but she made clear she believes Big Tech lobbyists are to blame. 

She said Big Tech has “armies of lobbyists and lawyers” that have flooded the U.S. Capitol and prevented her from cracking down on major American tech companies. 

“They are in every corner in this town, at every cocktail party and all over this building,” Ms. Klobuchar said at the hearing. “But it’s easy to see why they don’t want us to act. We would be happy to work with the companies on legislation, but they shut every single thing down.”

Amazon, Apple, Google, and the Meta-owned Facebook and Instagram all made Ms. Klobuchar’s list as the subject of her ire, and she said lawmakers could not afford to sit back and do nothing to stop the companies now. 

Ms. Klobuchar’s allies in the House have lost positions of power to set antitrust policy, but she said she would not give up her fight. Rep. David Cicilline, Rhode Island Democrat, lost the House antitrust panel’s top spot when Republicans took control of the chamber.

Rep. Ken Buck, Colorado Republican, was the antitrust subcommittee’s top-ranking Republican who had worked on legislation with Ms. Klobuchar. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan passed over Mr. Buck for the panel’s top perch in favor of Rep. Thomas Massie, Kentucky Republican. 

Mr. Buck sought to keep hope for his preferred Big Tech crackdown alive with the formation of a new Congressional Antitrust Caucus with Mr. Cicilline, but the Rhode Island Democrat announced he is preparing to quit Congress later this year. 

Despite the setbacks for her allies, Ms. Klobuchar said she had no intention of stopping now, and she believed restrictions would inevitably occur. She implored her fellow lawmakers to join her effort immediately. 

“We cannot afford to waste another two years getting nothing done,” Ms. Klobuchar said.  

In response to Ms. Klobuchar’s criticism, Meta declined to comment. Amazon referred The Washington Times to a statement from last year opposing Ms. Klobuchar‘s legislation.   

Apple and Google did not respond to requests for comment.

• Ryan Lovelace can be reached at rlovelace@washingtontimes.com.

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