Tom Cotton Introduces Plan To Rein In Big Tech’s ‘Monopolistic’ Practices With New Bipartisan Bill

( A bipartisan group of senators are putting forward a bill intended to restrict how big tech companies merge with and acquire smaller companies.

The bill, called the Platform Competition and Opportunity Act, is being co-sponsored by Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Republican Senator Tom Cotton from Arkansas.

It’s meant to be a companion bill to other antitrust laws that the House Judiciary Committee advanced back in June. If this latest bill is passed, the burden in antitrust cases would be shifted for mergers that are worth more than $50 million.

In other words, the firm that is acquiring the other company would have to prove that the acquisition of this other company wasn’t in any way anti-competitive. The bill also only applies to companies that have a market capitalization of more than $600 billion, has at least 100,000 monthly active business users or 50 million monthly active users based in the United States.

Because of this high bar, the bill seems to be specifically target big tech firms such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.

In a press release that announced the bill, Cotton said:

“Big tech firms have bought up rivals to crush their competition, expand their monopolistic market share, and to harm working Americans. That’s bad for America. Under this bill, the largest tech monopolies will have the burden of proving that further acquisitions are lawful and good for the American people.”

This bipartisan bill would narrow the Federal Trade Commissions’ discretion on how they can apply the antitrust law to companies. This is specifically how this bill differs from what the House advanced.

It is actually the second bipartisan antitrust bill that Klobuchar is taking the lead on. Back in October, she co-sponsored another bill with Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley (a Republican) that would target any platform that sets a preference to their own products and/or services.

In that same press release, Klobuchar said:

“This bipartisan legislation will put an end to those anticompetitive acquisitions by making it more difficult for dominant digital platforms to eliminate their competitors and enhance the platform’s market power. It’s past time to address our nation’s monopoly problem and modernize our antitrust laws for the digital economy.”

While the bill was introduced in the Senate, lawmakers in the House seemed to be behind the ideas that are being put forth. The main Republican who was behind the bills introduced in the House, Ken Buck from Colorado, was one of the big proponents of the Senate-sponsored anti-trust bills.

It’s not just lawmakers in Washington that are behind the bill, either. Many public advocates who are pushing for more anti-trust legislation and protections are in favor of it, too.

Mike Davis, who works with the Internet Accountability Project, said this most recent bill would tackle the “staggering market power” that big tech companies have.

And Charlotte Slaiman, who works with Public Knowledge, said the bill is an “important step towards a better internet.”