September 27, 2022

Facing pressure from progressives and tech hawks on both sides of the aisle, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer plans to hold a vote on bipartisan antitrust legislation targeting tech giants as early as this fall, according to new report from New York Post on Thursday.

The bill – the American Innovation and Internet Choice Act (AICO) – would restrict major tech platforms such as Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook parent Meta from favoring products and their services on their platforms against those of their competitors.

Earlier this year, Schumer promised to hold a vote on the legislation this summer as long as there are 60 senators to approve it. But as Congress’ August recess approached, at least a dozen senators, including stalwart Democrats like Sen. Jon Ossoff (GA), were still on the fence, The Washington Post reported last month.

In a statement to The lip on Friday, a spokesman for Schumer said: “S. Schumer is working with Senator Klobuchar and other supporters to gather the necessary votes and plans to bring it to a vote.” Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) are co-sponsoring the bill.

As AICO heads toward final approval, major tech companies have gone on a spending spree, putting a total of more than $35 million into lobbying Congress over the past year. Amazon, which would be barred from artificially inflating its private label products, spent a record $4.98 million on lobbying in the second quarter alone. according Bloomberg.

Schumer’s statement Thursday is the strongest signal yet that the Senate could approve an antitrust shakeup this year. But his commitment to hold a vote on AICO didn’t come without pressure from progressives and supportive lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

Last month, The lip reported that more than a dozen leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus have sent a letter to Schumer urging him to hold a vote before lawmakers leave Washington for the August recess. But other Democratic priorities, such as budget reconciliation and veterans care, got in the way.

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