Senator Klobuchar’s Big Tech Bill Depends on Evaporating Republican Support to Move Forward

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has been working on a Big Tech bill that she hopes to get through the Senate under the cover of antitrust legislation. It would focus on the biggest tech firms located in Silicon Valley. The bill initially had Republican backing. However, what began as a quick-tracked plan to implement reforms has been unable to move forward due in large part to Klobuchar's resistance to working with Republicans. 

In February, positive signs were in place. Klobuchar enjoyed the support of certain Republicans. But it soon became apparent that she was not interested in their help. The bill initially received support from Republicans such as Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and John Kennedy (R-Louisiana). However, the former has changed his mind, and the latter is likely to abandon it completely.

According to The Wall Street Journal, among other outlets, Republicans have been warned to beware of falling into a trap, and Klobuchar appears ready to break it out while she works to bring the bill to Democratic Senators who identify Big Tech as their primary domain.

The Hill reported that Senate Democrats were pushing for the bill, along with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and aiming to get an “early summer” vote. However, there's a problem: This isn't one of those “reconciliation things” where Schumer could pass a bill by bringing together his 50 Democrats with Vice President Kamala Harris. The senator needs GOP votes for this bill to pass. He'll need more than the standard 10 votes because of the vulnerability of Senate Democrats who are running for re-election and appear to be absconding with the legislation. Although Republicans have been calling for Klobuchar to introduce some important amendments that would make the bill worthy of their votes, the Democrats have mostly dismissed them and changed the bill according to their own whims. 

According to Bloomberg, Klobuchar attempted to address colleagues' concerns during her participation in a Democratic caucus lunch in March, according to Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HIi), a co-sponsor of the bill. Since then, a number of other Senate Democrats have joined in, including Cory Booker (D-NJ), who is a co-sponsor, while some, such as Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA), whose state is the home of Amazon's headquarters, are still undecided on how they'd vote on the floor. Senate Intelligence Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA), another co-sponsor, said he's looking into the concerns of former intelligence officials who believe the bill could inadvertently limit the ability of platforms to identify information sources and protect users both in the United States and around the world.

Mazie Hirono, as well as the Democratic Senators of California and Corey Booker, all had their concerns heard, and the bill was changed as they wished (especially those California politicians with the power to represent Silicon Valley). 

This is why Republicans seem to be abandoning it. And without Republican support, the bill is unsustainable. Both Republicans and Democrats have considered ways to reduce the influence of Big Tech in news and politics, but there is no consensus on how the process will actually look. Many measures have been debated and proposed. The bill also introduced an array of unnecessary rules and required companies to market their apps over other companies' apps. It would have resulted in more government intrusion into private enterprise when there wasn't any requirement for any.

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