House Republicans Outline Their Antitrust Agenda for Tech Giants

By Masooma Haq
Masooma Haq
Masooma Haq
July 8, 2021 Updated: July 8, 2021

Lead Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and his fellow GOP Representatives on Wednesday laid out their framework for reining in Big Tech companies’ control over the public discourse.

The document outlined steps to rein in Big Tech and end their practices that have resulted in the infringement on the free speech of Americans. The proposal comes a couple of weeks after the House Judiciary Committee voted to advance six bipartisan antitrust bills.

Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) praised the passage of the bills. “By reining in anti-competitive abuses, our legislation ensures there is a space for opportunity and innovation to thrive online,” Nadler said.

But Jordan said he does not believe the anti-trust legislation will bring benefit to Americans or protect free speech.

He said the bills advanced by the Judiciary Committee do not address tech monopolies and free speech issues, and instead give Congress the power to regulate Big Tech Companies, making the government more powerful.

“I think what these bills do, very clearly, is they marry up big government with big tech, and I think it’s going to make the situation worse,” Jordan told Fox News last month.

The Ohio congressman said that he only supported a couple of the bills in the package, and that the package “as a whole, is bad and most of the legislation in the package, certainly for these bills, [are] very problematic.”

“Democrats want to use the power of the regulatory state the power of big government, particularly the Biden administration to further control the economy and limit speech,” he said.

“The empowerment they give to the Federal Trade Commission to run companies, and the one bill has secret committees that aren’t subject to any type of transparency.

“What we need to do is take away their liability protection and break them up, two simple things. That’s what Republicans are going to focus on doing,” he added of where the GOP bills differ. “We’ve introduced that first piece of legislation last week as well. So that’s where we need to go, but I don’t think Democrats want the same objective that you do, your viewers do, and most of America does.”

Jordan and Republican lawmakers say conservatives are a target of Big Tech censorship and bias, and their framework will help create laws that will hold Big Tech accountable.

The Republican proposal is divided into three key parts: speed, accountability, and transparency.

By speed, the GOP members proposed requiring a faster process for hearing antitrust cases against Big Tech and empowering Attorney Generals to use fast-track anti-trust cases.

Under accountability, Republicans are seeking to reform tech’s protection from legal liability for content on its platforms under Section 230. They also want to create a statutory basis for Americans to directly challenge Big Tech in court for any censorship they experience. The GOP congress members also want to consolidate antitrust enforcement within the Department of Justice so that it is more effective and accountable.

The framework will require that large platforms list clearly and openly content moderation decisions and rules for censorship on a publicly available website. Failure to do so would result in a huge fine.

In a letter to House Republicans, leader Kevin McCarthy said the framework is only a starting point from which legislation will be written and introduced.

“We will work with our members, committees, and newly formed task forces to turn this framework into legislation, and we will fight for floor consideration. Conservatives and our ideas have been targeted by Big Tech for too long. We must step up because make no mistake, the Democrats continue to demonstrate no interest in addressing fairness when it comes to conservative viewpoints. And they’ll continue to use Big Tech to do so,” he wrote.

Masooma Haq
Masooma Haq