A group of centrist Democrats have asked House leaders to slow down consideration of a half-dozen antitrust proposals virulently opposed by the big tech companies the bills target.
Eight members of the New Democrat Coalition wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her top deputy, as well as House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, asking the Judiciary Committee to hold full legislative hearings before proceeding to the final consideration of the bills that Nadler had planned for next week. The letter said members need more time to study the legislation to “ensure we craft sound legislation with the broadest coalition of support.”
“We agree it is long overdue for Congress to enact laws that protect consumers’ rights and personal information in our ever increasingly digital world,” the letter says. “However, these are complex issues with far reaching implications.”
The letter is also addressed to Antitrust Subcommittee Chair David Cicilline, the Rhode Island Democrat who led the introduction of five bills last week, some of which target Alphabet Inc’s Google, Facebook Inc., Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., and would also apply to Microsoft Corp. All of the bills have bipartisan co-sponsors, and the legislative push has had strong support from Representative Ken Buck of Colorado, the ranking Republican on the antitrust subcommittee.
Nadler had planned to begin marking up the bills on Wednesday before a vote in the full Judiciary Committee.
Friday’s letter from centrist Democrats mirrors a request from the Computer & Communications Industry Association, a trade group that counts Amazon, Google and Facebook as members. That letter, sent last week, asked the Judiciary Committee to hold legislative hearings to give experts and academics the chance to weigh in.
The Democrats who signed Friday’s letter include Representatives Suzan DelBene of Washington state, Scott Peters of California, Sharice Davids of Kansas, Ann McLane Kuster of New Hampshire, Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania, Kathy Manning of North Carolina, Bradley Schneider of Illinois and Delegate Stacey Plaskett of the U.S. Virgin Islands.