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Sen. Grassley demands Biden take ‘energetic role’ in stalled Big Tech antitrust bill


The highest Republican backer of a stalled antitrust bill demanded President Joe Biden take an “energetic role” in ending the nearly year-long logjam over the bipartisan laws that cracks down on Big Tech. 

Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, who co-sponsored The Web Innovation and Alternative Act with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), wants Biden to pressure Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to incorporate elements of their antitrust bill within the omnibus package that should be passed by the tip of the yr.

“If the President wants to perform something on this front, then the White House needs to begin taking an energetic role in pushing Leader Schumer and the Democratic caucus to bring this bill to a vote before the yr is out,” Grassley told The Post.

Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi reportedly hammered out a framework for the appropriations bill on Wednesday – avoiding a government shutdown. Nonetheless, the main points have yet to be finalized before a final vote this week. 

“Sen. Grassley should pick up the phone and tell Mitch McConnell every little thing he’s telling The Post,” Angelo Roefaro, a spokesperson for Schumer, told The Post on Thursday. 

Sen. Amy Klobuchar is a backer of The Web Innovation and Alternative Act.AP/Alex Brandon

The antitrust bill was passed by the House in February but has languished within the Senate despite Schumer‘s continued vow to bring it to a vote. It might prevent platforms from “self-preferencing” their content. As an illustration, Amazon would not find a way to advertise its own goods over third-party sellers on its e-commerce site.  

The bill has faced massive headwinds from deep-pocketed Big Tech lobbyists. Amazon, Apple, Meta and Google combined to spend greater than $35 million in only the primary half of the yr on lobbying efforts, Bloomberg reported.

The businesses have also flooded Beltway airwaves with commercials opposing antitrust bills and acquired ad space in influential newsletters like Politico Playbook. 

“Should you don’t count all of the paid shills working for Big Tech, Schumer is the last guy in Washington holding out on this laws ” said Luther Lowe, Senior Vice President of Public Policy at Yelp.

Proponents of the antitrust laws say the omnibus package, which can appropriate government funding for the following yr, is the proper vehicle to finish the stalemate.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that Congress will vote on a bill to fund the government for another seven days this week.Countless lawmakers have children working in big tech.Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for SEIU

Insiders add that there may be a serious push from lawmakers who support antitrust laws to incorporate key provisions from other proposed bills searching for to throttle Big Tech. 

“Even people who find themselves whining about where the commas go within the omnibus aren’t against laws that reins in tech firms,” an insider told The Post. “Leveling the playing field within the Big Tech space isn’t super controversial.” 

There’s greater than Big Tech money pushing against the antitrust bills. A minimum of 17 lawmakers tasked with oversight of Meta, Amazon, Google and Apple have children who work at — or recently worked for — those firms, Politico reported.

The Post reported that US Rep. Zoe Lofgren — a Democrat who’s some of the vocal opponents of antitrust bills now winding their way through Congress that might goal Big Tech — has a daughter who works on Google’s legal team.

The Post also reported that each of Schumer’s daughters are on the payroll of Big Tech firms. Jessica Schumer is a registered lobbyist at Amazon, in line with Recent York state records. Alison Schumer works at Facebook as a product marketing manager.

People near Schumer say he’s held off on holding a vote on the Innovation Act while specializing in other priorities like codifying gay marriage and passing the so-called Inflation Reduction Act.

But many Republicans have been left frustrated by Schumer’s failure to tackle Big Tech.

“Sen. Schumer has been giving lip service to antitrust reform for over a yr now,” Garrett Ventry, former chief of staff to Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), told The Post.

“If President Biden really wants antitrust reform, he’ll pressure Schumer so as to add it to the omnibus,” Ventry added.

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