After six months of sluggish progress, the Senate is closer than ever to enacting new antitrust laws for the tech industry – and the industry is fighting back harder than ever.
The American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICO), sponsored by a bipartisan group that includes Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), was passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee in January and is expected to be voted on by the entire Senate in the coming weeks. However, the bill is receiving strong opposition from tech industry groups, and it is building up to be a key test of the internet industry’s political might in Congress.
The bill’s cosponsors underscored the bill’s bipartisan support in a joint press conference on Wednesday. Sen. Klobuchar told reporters, “At its core, this is about cutting costs for consumers and aiding competitive businesses.” “We have momentum because the measure is pro-competition and plain sense, despite all the money spent against us.”
As the pressure increases, tech giants have remained silent on the measure, but there have been signs of behind-the-scenes lobbying. On Thursday, Apple CEO Tim Cook was seen in Congress, albeit the reason for his visit was not revealed. Cook has only spoken publicly about looming digital privacy legislation, urging Congress to implement new safeguards “as soon as feasible” in a public letter.
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