Senator Klobuchar’s Anti-Tech Bill “Could Crush” American Small Businesses and “Harm” Consumers, Senators Warn
Last week numerous senators warned that Sen. Klobuchar’s American Innovation and Choice Online Act could have serious consequences for small businesses and consumers alike by breaking many free technology tools and services.
— This legislation “could crush” American small businesses that use digital tools and services to compete.
— This bill could lead to “unforeseen consequences,” harming consumers.
This legislation “could crush” American small businesses that use digital tools and services to compete.
“This could crush thousands of small businesses, and it could actually worsen the state of competition in online markets,” explains Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah). “I know that is not the intent of the bill, but we’ve got to be very careful when we do this to make sure that we’re not creating more of the same problems that we’re trying to address.”
“I have other issues I’d like to work on with the sponsors of the bill such as unintended economic consequences for small businesses who rely greatly on online platforms, many businesses in Vermont,” says Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).
“There is not a business or an organization in the United States that does not have a virtual element and making certain that innovation stays in place,” notes Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).
Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) explained the businesses who may be hurt most by antitrust regulation aren’t even the companies targeted by the bill: “Let’s not forget the many, many workers who are employed directly or indirectly by the technology industry at all levels of the supply chain.”
This bill could lead to “unforeseen consequences,” harming consumers.
“I worry a lot about the broad scope and the vague language that it contains that I believe would lead to an untold number of unintended and unforeseen consequences like harming many of the very same consumers that we’re trying to protect,” explains Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah).
“Will the written bill, the bill as drafted, result in the removal of popular products and services that have benefited consumers? How will the interoperability requirements impact cybersecurity and privacy? Will judges interpret the bill to protect consumers or individual competitors? It’s an important question given that US antitrust law, our competition policies in this country, have always focused, to our great benefit, on protecting competition itself, protecting competition with an eye toward protecting the consumer. The minute we start focusing on competitors, rather than competition and consumers, is the minute we could really end up with a very different product.”
— Sen. Lee continues: “Will two-day shipping turn into seven to 12-day shipping? Questions about specific examples have been met, more or less, with the reply, ‘Look, we trust the government to bring good cases under this law.'”
— “In any law, penalties really should be tied to harm. Abandoning this approach, as this bill does, may actually result in fewer attempts to offer consumers new and better products and services at better prices. I don’t see how this helps innovation or choice online to take the approach that I’ve just described.”
“Having said that, I’m not convinced that this bill as currently drafted will actually provide the net benefit to consumers that we’re seeking,” warns Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.).
Read about small business leaders speaking out against the anti-tech bills here.
Read about how this bill breaks the products and services consumers regularly use here.