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Senate won’t vote on tech antitrust bill until summer recess: Klobuchar

U.S. Senate Rules and Administration Committee Chairwoman Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) chairs a Senate Rules and Administration Committee oversight hearing to review the U.S. Capitol’s police- United following the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, one day before the anniversary of the attack in Washington, United States, January 5, 2022.

Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters

The most promising tech antitrust bill to pass through Congress won’t get a vote until the summer recess, its lead sponsor, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., admitted in a recent interview on “Symone from MSNBC.

Klobuchar said Saturday that she had spoken last week with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D.N.Y., about holding a vote on the U.S. Innovation and Choice Act in line in the fall, according to Axios.

“We’re not going to be able to do that this week, obviously, with the major vote we have on the Cut Inflation Act,” she said, according to the Axios transcript.

Klobuchar’s bill, co-sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee member Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, would prohibit dominant technology platforms from privileging their own products over those of rivals who rely on their services. This could have a significant impact on how companies like Amazon, Apple and Google display search results on their marketplaces, for example.

Advocates of the bill say the reform is needed to rebalance power in digital markets and allow new innovators to thrive. But critics, including tech companies, argued that the bill would worsen the consumer experience by potentially weakening safety standards and the ability of platforms to expel harmful products from their markets. Klobuchar and other supporters of the bill have denied that is the case.

Schumer had previously said he intended to put the bill to a vote in early summer, Axios was the first to report in May. But while Klobuchar and others expressed confidence the bill would receive a filibuster-proof majority if introduced in the Senate, Schumer had yet to schedule a vote by last week of the Senate session before the August recess.

The bill could receive another swipe later this year after the midterm elections, although that leaves little time to do so. Many supporters of the bill believe it would be much harder to pass if Republicans took control of the House, as many pollsters predict. And supporters worry that the longer it takes to get the bill to a vote, the more time tech lobbyists will have to sow doubt in lawmakers’ minds.

Klobuchar’s office did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

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