Amy Klobuchar is the first politician of the Biden era to take on Big Tech regulations

The senator's new bill seeks to give more power and resources to federal regulators.

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U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, wears a protective mask during a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee confirmation hearing for U.S. Secretary of Transportation nominee Pete Buttigieg in Washington, DC, U.S., January 21, 2021.  Stefani Reynolds/Pool via REUTERS
POOL New / reuters

In what’s likely to go down as the opening salvo of the Biden-era antitrust debate, US Senator Amy Klobuchar will introduce new legislation later today to update the country’s antitrust laws. While we don’t have all the details of the Competition and Antitrust Law Enforcement Reform Act of 2021 just yet, one significant point is that it would better equip regulatory authorities to take on their Big Tech counterparts. 

According to Protocol, Klobuchar calls for providing the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission with new regulatory powers and millions of dollars in additional funding to prosecute anti-competitive behavior. The legislation would also give them the power to impose more significant fines on offending companies, with the legislation allowing for penalties of up to 15 percent of a company’s total US revenue. 

“Let’s be clear: we have a monopoly problem. But we can’t take on the biggest companies in the world with just Band-Aids and duct tape,” said Klobuchar on Twitter. “We need legislation that will increase enforcement resources and tighten our antitrust laws — so I’m introducing a new bill that will do just that.” 

What you won’t see in the bill is a call for Congress to break up any of the major players in the space. In that Klobuchar’s approach differs from some of her more progressive counterparts in the House and Senate, and that may help the bill garner bipartisan support. When Democrats on the House antitrust subcommittee published their findings last fall, most Republicans said they couldn’t agree with any of its recommendations, calling a potential breakup of Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google the “nuclear option.” 

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