House and Senate Sponsors Highlight How Bipartisan Tech Competition Bill Will Lower Costs for Consumers, Help Businesses Compete

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressmen David N. Cicilline (D-RI) and Ken Buck (R-CO) and Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) held a press conference Wednesday highlighting how the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, their bipartisan, bicameral legislation to restore competition online, will lower costs for consumers, help small businesses, and restore competition to digital markets. The lawmakers called for a swift floor vote on the legislation. Congressmen Cicilline and Buck introduced the legislation in the House last summer, which passed the House Judiciary Committee by a bipartisan vote of 24-20 last July. In February, the bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee by a bipartisan vote of 16-6.

“The American Innovation and Choice Online Act will make digital markets in the United States more competitive, more innovative and more secure. That’s why the bill is widely popular with American consumers and businesses,” said Congressman Cicilline.
 
“This bill has to pass…and we have to be able to tell the American people that Congress works and we are working on their behalf and that we care about them,” said Congressman Buck.
 
“At its core, this [legislation] is about lowering costs for consumers and helping competitive business. And despite all the money being spent against us, we have momentum because the bill is pro-competition and it's common sense,” said Senator Klobuchar. 
 
“Big Tech companies want to protect the status quo, which allows them to expand their influence over our decisions, whether you’re a small businessperson or a consumer,” said Senator Grassley. “If we want action, we need a Senate vote and we need that Senate vote to be soon.” 
 
The American Innovation and Choice Online Act has gained momentum in recent weeks, earning the support of the Department of Justice, Department of Commerce, small business organizations such as Main Street Alliance and Small Business Rising, and a coalition of small and mid-sized technology companies including Yelp, Sonos, Patreon, and DuckDuckGo.  
 
A transcript of Congressman Cicilline’s remarks is available below and you can see the full press conference here.
 Thank you, good afternoon.
 I’m delighted to be here with Senator Klobuchar, Senator Grassley, and Congressman Buck.
 The American Innovation and Choice Online Act will make digital markets in the United States more competitive, more innovative, and more secure. And that’s why the bill is widely popular with American consumers and businesses. This is also why the bill has bicameral, bipartisan support.
 And I really want to thank our Senate colleagues, Chairwoman Klobuchar and Senator Grassley, for their leadership in the Senate. I would also like to acknowledge my friend and colleague, Congressman Buck for his partnership not only on the almost two-year investigation, but all of our work in the House to help restore competition to the digital marketplace.
 This legislation is a long time coming, and we’ve put a tremendous amount of thought and expertise into it. As Senator Klobuchar mentioned, we spent 16 months developing an extensive record that demonstrated the urgent need for reform.
 This Congress, we put a real set of legislative options on the table. We’ve spent almost a year strengthening and refining our bill, with input from our colleagues and other stakeholders.
 But, the Big Tech companies do not want competition online. They want to keep their gatekeeper power and their monopoly profits intact. And that’s why they are spending enormous resources to try to kill this legislation. And they’ve spent tens of millions of dollars in an advertising campaign.
 And so, I would like to use my couple of minutes today to address three specific lies that are coming from Big Tech about this landmark piece of legislation.
 First, nothing in this bill prevents any platform from offering the products or services that consumers today enjoy - such as Amazon Prime, Google Maps, or the iPhone. Instead, the bill addresses how the very largest online platforms treat their customers and other businesses. It prohibits those platforms from curtailing customer choice and undermining other businesses' ability to compete online.
 In other words, this bill will not prevent Amazon from providing free shipping or other services to its Prime members. But, it will prohibit Amazon from misleading customers by rigging search results, and cheating its sellers by stealing their nonpublic product information.
 Second, nothing in this bill prevents any platform from taking strong action to protect user privacy, security, and safety. To the contrary, the legislation provides an absolute defense for actions taken by dominant platforms to protect user privacy and security.
 It also takes aim at monopolistic business practices that make users less secure online. Such as when dominant app stores hurt rival apps by blocking their privacy and security updates. And, by promoting competition, this legislation ensures that startups and businesses that offer even greater user privacy and security can grow and thrive.
 And third, this legislation does not undermine our national security or American economic competitiveness. Far from it. It strengthens our national security and our competitiveness.
 Competitive, free markets are a key source of American economic strength and a core pillar of our national security. This legislation promotes fierce competition, which is the best way to ensure the United States continues to be the most innovative, dynamic economy in the world. That is why the Department of Justice and 32 State Attorneys General support our bill.
 In closing, this legislation is important for America's economic future. It ensures the digital marketplace is free, fair, and competitive. It’s good for business and it’s good for consumers.
 And the American public has made clear that they want us to stop the abuses of Big Tech.
 It's time for Congress to act now.
  And Congressman Buck and I both look forward to a House vote on the floor very soon. 

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