- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 23, 2021

The Connected Commerce Council is urging federal lawmakers to consider the harm to small businesses that could result from new antitrust policy aimed at Big Tech. 

The council, a nonprofit advocacy group that promotes small businesses and partners with Amazon, Google, and Facebook, is concerned over new antitrust policy from Congress ahead of a House antitrust panel reviewing Big Tech policy later this week. The council is leading a coalition that has written to lawmakers encouraging them not to obstruct small-business partnerships with tech platforms. 

“Elected officials must understand that digital tools are so effective for small businesses because the companies offering them are large, interconnected, constantly innovating, and engaged in fierce competition for small businesses’ dollars,” said Jake Ward, Connected Commerce Council president, in a statement. “Rather than launching investigations, government should empower small businesses and invest in increasing access to and educational resources for digital tools to help small businesses survive and prepare for the next crisis.”

The House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee is beginning a series of hearings reviewing proposals for new antitrust policy later this week and is taking a long look at Big Tech. Last year, the Democratic-led committee completed an investigation of Big Tech and published a 450-page report that called for overhauling antitrust law, taking aim at Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google, and thwarting mergers involving the tech sector’s dominant players. 

With Democrats in control of both chambers of Congress and the White House, and animosity toward large tech companies from political leaders of different parties, federal lawmakers have made a new push for antitrust legislation against Big Tech. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota Democrat and leader of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel, proposed overhauling antitrust policy to lower the standards used to take the dominant forces in the market head-on, including within Big Tech. 

Republicans in both chambers have signaled that they are not willing to go as far as Democrats but believe new antitrust policy approaches ought to be considered. The top-ranking Republican on the Ms. Klobuchar-led antitrust panel, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, said last week he wanted lawmakers to review a wide range of antitrust issues including whether app stores have restricted competition online, how coronavirus lockdowns harmed competition by killing small businesses, and several other issues. 

• Ryan Lovelace can be reached at rlovelace@washingtontimes.com.

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