May 31, 2022

Bill Would Harm Companies and Consumers, Undermine National Security

A revised version of the controversial American Innovation and Choice Online Act (S. 2992) would not address the concerns of the business community and undermine the global competitiveness of American companies, business organizations said.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who introduced the act to the Senate last October, published the revised text of the bill on her Senate website earlier this month. The bill, which has bipartisan support, seeks to curb the largest online platforms, such as Amazon and Google, from giving preference to their own products and from unfairly limiting the availability of competing products on the platform. However, organizations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have warned that the bill would arbitrarily subject certain companies from different rules than their competitors and give agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission even more power to micromanage the economy.

The new version of the bill has not reduced those criticisms. “This legislation would irreparably harm the American economy and innovation,” Neil Bradley, executive vice president and chief policy officer for the U.S. Chamber said on May 26. “It fails to address bipartisan concerns that it would undermine our national security, a, privacy and international competitiveness – and harm consumers. Such an approach will fuel further inflation, limit choices, and undermine investment in innovation by injecting regulatory uncertainty into the marketplace at the worst possible time.

“Moreover, last-minute cosmetic tweaks to address the bill’s well-documented shortcomings are woefully insufficient. Instead, the sponsors have rushed ahead intentionally avoiding any hearings to thoughtfully evaluate the bill. American innovators and businesses of all sizes deserve better. The legislation is too consequential to not have been properly vetted as it seeks to remake an entire tech ecosystem that has made the United States the envy of the world. But it won’t just impact the tech sector – it seeks to upend the role of antitrust in an effort to give government sweeping authority to regulate entire industries and micro-manage our economy.”

TechNet, a national, bipartisan network of technology CEOs and senior executives, echoed the U.S. Chamber’s statement, saying that the updated bill still failed to address concerns about national security and global competitiveness. “There has been no hearing with the FBI, NSA, or CIA to examine potential security risks despite continued warnings from security experts,” the organization said. “The bill in its revised form would still only apply to iconic American businesses, not to our foreign adversaries. This would benefit countries looking to undermine U.S. influence and global leadership and make it harder for American companies to counter ongoing Russian disinformation campaigns and growing cyber threats.”