“In my district alone, I represent thousands — likely in the five digits — of employees affected by the proposed laws,” he said. “It is these people whose jobs, families and livelihoods I was elected to protect — and must advocate for today.”
The committee’s passage of the bills kicks off a much harder process. Eight Democratic lawmakers have asked Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has tremendous sway over when bills are taken up in the full House, to slow the process. The lawmakers repeated arguments made by companies like Apple that say the bills could open up security and privacy vulnerabilities for customers.
The challenge is even stiffer in the Senate, where the bills will each require significant Republican support to reach the needed 60 votes. A few Republicans, including Josh Hawley of Missouri, have pressed for stiffer antitrust laws. But it is unclear whether many more will join him.
Some bills, like the one to generate more money for the Federal Trade Commission, could face less resistance than others. The most contentious is a bill that bans platforms from selling their own products, such as Amazon selling its own branded Amazon Basics toilet paper and putting rivals like Charmin at a disadvantage.
“We think it’s an uphill climb for the toughest bills,” said Paul Gallant, a research analyst at Cowen and Company. “The Senate filibuster is always the highest hurdle and I suspect it will hold back the toughest of these bills. But the House is going faster and farther against tech than anyone expected.”
The bills face fierce opposition from technology companies that have marshaled their considerable lobbying operations. Ahead of the votes on Wednesday, Apple sent a letter to committee leaders warning that the if the bills were passed, the company would not be able to offer certain privacy and security features for users. Think tanks and lobbying groups funded by tech companies issued critical statements before the votes.
The bills “single out a handful of America’s most innovative and globally competitive tech companies for divestiture and draconian regulation,” said Alec Stapp, a director of the Progressive Policy Institute, a nonprofit think tank that received sponsorship from tech companies.