As lawmakers continue to debate the role of Big Tech in America, two Republican Senators proposed a bill to consolidate and strengthen antitrust law enforcement.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced the Tougher Enforcement Against Monopolies (TEAM) Act in an attempt to protect free market competition while minimizing intervention from the federal government.
According to a press release from Sen. Lee’s office:
The TEAM Act strengthens antitrust laws. It includes a market share-based merger presumption… and makes it harder for monopolists to justify or excuse anticompetitive conduct.
The TEAM Act strengthens antitrust enforcers. In addition to consolidating federal antitrust enforcement at the Department of Justice, the bill also includes a version of the Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act, introduced by Senators Klobuchar and Grassley. And most significantly, the bill roughly doubles the amount of money appropriated to federal antitrust enforcement, ensuring that our antitrust enforcers have all of the resources they need to protect American consumers.
The TEAM Act strengthens antitrust remedies… the bill allows the Justice Department to recover trebled damages on behalf of consumers, and imposes civil fines for knowingly violating the antitrust laws.
“America is facing a panoply of competition concerns not just in Big Tech, but across our entire economy,” explained Lee in the statement. “We need a holistic approach that deals with all of these concerns, and that benefits all consumers, in every industry — without massively increasing regulation and imposing a command-and-control grip over the economy. The TEAM Act strikes the right balance in protecting competition and consumer welfare while limiting government intervention in our free market economy.”
“Anticompetitive and monopolistic business practices hurt innovation and consumers,” Grassley added. “This bill streamlines and strengthens antitrust enforcement and holds bad actors accountable for their anticompetitive actions while preserving a free market.”
The legislation was released days after a group of bipartisan House members introduced a series of aggressive reforms that would break up Big Tech firms like Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook.
The lawmakers’ bills would prohibit “discriminatory conduct by dominant platforms, including a ban on self-preferencing and picking winners and losers online,” lower “barriers to entry and switching costs for businesses and consumers through interoperability and data portability requirements,” and update filing fees to “ensure that Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission have the resources they need to aggressively enforce the antitrust laws.”
Earlier this year, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) — a leading proponent of antitrust legislation among Congressional Republicans — introduced the “Bust Up Big Tech Act,” which would “break up Big Tech companies seeking to dominate multiple industries simultaneously.”
“Woke Big Tech companies like Google and Amazon have been coddled by Washington politicians for years,” said Hawley. “This treatment has allowed them to amass colossal amounts of power that they use to censor political opinions they don’t agree with and shut out competitors who offer consumers an alternative to the status quo. It’s past time to bust up Big Tech companies, restore competition, and give the power back to the American consumers.”
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