Democrats discuss tougher antitrust law, some in the GOP agree

Platform Industry: The Capitol Building and Senate in Washington DC

The US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel discussed ways to tighten antitrust laws on Thursday, with two Republicans on the Democrat-dominated panel signalling potential support for some changes.

The antitrust subcommittee, chaired by Representative David Cicilline, is expected to launch a much-anticipated report into the four massive tech companies — Amazon.com, Facebook, Apple and Google — as soon as Monday next week.

From the hearing, Mr Cicilline said the technology companies used strategies such as self-preferencing and predatory prices to grow.

One watch, Bill Baer, who headed the Justice Department Antitrust Division during the Obama administration, argued to the committee that successive court rulings over the years have made it harder to block a merger.

“If courts are unwilling to step back from this overreach, legislation may well be needed to re-set the boundaries,” he said.

Representative Ken Buck, a Republican, appeared swayed by calls for tougher antitrust law, including giving more funds to the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission.

Representative Kelly Armstrong, a Republican, said he agreed with Buck about the need for “more money, more resources, (and) more enforcement.” He indicated he’d be interested in talking “tweaks” to antitrust law enforcement.

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Rep. Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, repeated his concern that Big Tech companies were “out to get conservatives.”

The Justice Department is also probing the large four tech platforms, also is expected to file a lawsuit against Google following week.

Facebook and Amazon also face questions by the FTC, while US state attorneys general are considering Facebook and Google.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Diane Bartz. Additional reporting by Nandita Bose. Editing by Richard Pullin.

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