Takeaway From This Week’s SJC Antitrust Subcommittee Hearing: More Of The Same
This week’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing featured similar arguments about flawed anti-tech legislation that failed in the last Congress. Chamber of Progress’ Adam Kovacevich summed up the hearing with one simple phrase: Congress is “once again, ignoring that the public isn’t clamoring for bills like AICOA.”
Also, Members of Congress, including Sen. Padilla (D-Calif.), continue to have unresolved concerns about these bills’ implications for content moderation.
Several other experts reacted to the SJC hearing. Here is what you need to know:
CCIA President Matt Schruers wrote in a DisCo post this week on the SJC hearing, “If Congress is serious about antitrust reform, it should pursue principles of general applicability aimed at advancing all consumers’ welfare.”
— He continues: “Before policymakers consider another push for the flawed anti-tech bills, they should remember this strategy to target a handful U.S. tech companies failed because consumers did not support it, and experts warned of collateral damage to national security, privacy, and the economy.”
Former Bush Administration DOJ official Jamil N. Jaffer criticized the hearing noting, “There was no attempt whatsoever to grapple with the actual hard national security arguments. “
CTA’s Michael Petricone noted, “bills discussed at [this week’s] Senate hearing are the exact same ones that failed in 2022. The bills haven’t changed since last year.”
Trevor Wagener, Director of Research and Economics at CCIA, noted, “economists have been very critical” of the bills discussed at Tuesday’s SJC hearing.
— Wagener wrote: “Economists have been very critical of bills implementing such a policy change, both due to the fundamental tradeoff against consumer welfare inherent to any such bill, and because the specific bills in question have often been poorly designed.”
Ahead of the hearing, nine leading industry groups—including CCIA, SIIA, the Application Developers Alliance, and TechNet—submitted a joint letter to the Antitrust Subcommittee highlighting several concerns about anti-tech policies.
— The letter states: “It is disheartening that lawmakers may again consider policies that would hamstring leading American technology companies while placing no corollary restrictions on foreign competitors including major Chinese technology companies that receive significant state investment and support. This approach will boost foreign economic actors and weaken America’s global technology leadership while introducing significant privacy and national security risks and constitutional concerns, and undermining digital trust and safety efforts that protect consumers.”