House Judiciary Committee Antitrust Bills Would Compromise U.S. as Global Leader on Tech and Harm Consumers

Photo Credit: Getty

Several antitrust bills were introduced today by members of the House Judiciary Committee, including the “American Innovation and Choice Online Act,” the “Platform Competition and Opportunity Act,” the “ACCESS Act of 2021,” the “Merger Fee Filing Modernization Act of 2021,” and the “Ending Platform Monopolies Act.”

Reacting to the antitrust activity in the Judiciary Committee, Director of CEI’s Center for Technology and Innovation Jessica Melugin said:

“Taken together, these bills are EU-style regulation at its most economically depressing. They reflect fundamental misunderstandings of how platforms create value for consumers, how market leaders compete with each other and the incentives necessary to keep innovative companies churning out useful new products and services for customers. Taken together, these proposed regulations would compromise the U.S. as a global tech leader, strain an already struggling U.S. economy, and hurt American consumers.”

CEI Vice President for Strategy Iain Murray:

“Throughout all of these bills the principle of consumer welfare seems wholly absent. They are written to hurt successful companies that have delivered huge amounts of consumer welfare. The only beneficiaries I can identify will be bureaucrats who get more power and less successful companies who will face less onerous competition but have little room to grow.”

CEI antitrust experts also weighed in on each individual bill:

‘‘Ending Platform Monopolies Act’’ – Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA)


“This is Washington meddling at its worst. Bureaucrats and regulators should not be making decisions entrepreneurs and investors are infinitely more qualified to make about what will create value, drive innovation, and best serve consumers. The federal government can never hope to keep up with the pace of the dynamic tech industry; pretending otherwise will cause shareholders, consumers and the U.S. economy to suffer.”


“This bill kills the goose that lays the golden egg. In its efforts to help smaller businesses it will almost certainly deny them access to bigger platforms, which will be forced to concentrate on their own offerings. Thousands of businesses will go bust and many thousands of jobs will be lost. Of all five bills, this is probably the worst.”

“American Innovation and Choice Online Act’’ – Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) and Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX)


“Grocery stores, big-box sellers, and department stores use data from branded products to inform their treatment of generics and have done so for decades. It often leads to more options, lower price points and increased convenience for consumers. Selling generics is a well-established retail business practice and there’s no reason it should transform into something harmful or illegal when done by an online merchant.”


“This bill wouldn’t just force the breakup of technology companies, it would break technology we all find enhances our lives. No more streaming video bundled with your delivery subscription. No more maps embedded in search results. Probably no more app stores – or any other proprietary apps – on your new phone. It would have effects far beyond the technology companies it’s aimed at, hitting retail and finance businesses hard.”

Senior fellow John Berlau:

“The net effect of a proposed ‘Glass-Steagall for tech’ – a rule separating platform hosting from selling on the same platform – will be reduced competition, just as was the effect of the original Glass-Steagall for the financial service sector. Not only did Glass-Steagall — which forbade bank holding companies from both taking deposits and trading securities — make American banks less competitive with their foreign competitors, it prevented regional and community banks from growing by branching into brokerage services. As Daniel Press and I showed in a study we co-authored, Glass-Steagall forced securities dealers affiliated with banks across the country to close, and the broker-dealer industry became concentrated in New York. These were among the reasons for a bipartisan partial repeal of the law with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999.

“A Glass-Steagall-like rule for tech would likely have a similar effect, as it would prevent small and midsize online sellers from starting platforms in which they and similar businesses could sell their products. This would give today’s big platform companies – who have plenty of ways to sell their own products – even more of a competitive edge over upstarts.”

‘‘Platform Competition and Opportunity Act’’ – Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY)


“Regulators do not have any special insight about whether a merger or acquisition will be successful or not; there’s no crystal ball at the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC did not stop Facebook from acquiring Instagram in 2012; now that obviously successful purchase is the subject of an antitrust suit. Pushing the default answer to ‘no’ in mergers and acquisitions will not produce any new or better information for regulators, nor will it produce better results for consumers. But it surely will stifle innovation and deny consumers future advances in product offerings and services.” 


“As written, this bill will kill almost all mergers and acquisitions in the platform economy. It ends at a stroke of the legislator’s pen a major source of exit funding for entrepreneurs and will chill the development at scale of many promising technologies. This will be nothing short of a disaster for American technology industry leadership.”

“Augmenting Compatibility and Competition by Enabling Service Switching Act of 2021’’ or the ‘‘ACCESS Act of 2021’’ – Rep. Mary Scanlon (D-PA)


“There is little evidence that consumers are interested in data portability or that data volume is a barrier to entry for nascent competitors. It’s more certain that these regulations will be costly to implement, restrict possibly beneficial business practices, and put consumer privacy more at risk. These mandates are micromanaging complex, dynamic, and highly competitive markets beyond the scope of understanding for most politicians and regulators. One need only to look to the EU’s failed experiment with GDPR regulations to see the potential harms to U.S. consumers.”


“This is the anti-privacy bill. Companies could be forced to hand over your data. There is a risk that it will lock-in technology, particularly as it requires the FTC, an agency without the required skills, to approve changes to a company’s interoperability systems. Above all, there appears to be very little public demand for this bill.”

“Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act of 2021” – Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO)


“Increasing the cost of doing business is the last thing the sputtering economy needs right now. U.S. consumers need innovative services and affordable products, not higher prices passed onto them by businesses avoiding new, unnecessary regulatory compliance costs. America demands their leaders continue the light-touch regulatory approach that’s made us a global leader, not the heavy-handed approach that’s lead to the EU’s tech malaise.”


“This bill may not seem controversial, but it should be. It reduces the power of the purse Congress has over agencies. Increasing fees makes agencies more self-sufficient, which means they will be less responsive to criticism and even Congressional oversight.”

For more information about CEI’s work on antitrust, visit