“In my district alone, I represent thousands – probably five-figure – of employees affected by the proposed laws,” he said. “These are the people I was elected to protect jobs, families and livelihoods – and I must stand up today.”
Passage of bills by committee initiates a much more difficult process. Eight Democratic lawmakers have called on President Nancy Pelosi, who has enormous influence over when bills are passed in plenary, to slow the process down. Lawmakers reiterated arguments made by companies like Apple that invoices could open security and privacy vulnerabilities for customers.
The challenge is even more difficult in the Senate, where the bills will each require significant Republican support to reach the necessary 60 votes. A few Republicans, including Josh Hawley of Missouri, have pushed for tougher antitrust laws. But it’s unclear if many more will join him.
Some bills, such as the one to generate more money for the Federal Trade Commission, may meet less resistance than others. The most controversial is a bill banning platforms from selling their own products, like Amazon selling its own Amazon Basics-branded toilet paper and putting competitors like Charmin at a disadvantage.
“We think it’s a tough climb for the toughest bills,” said Paul Gallant, research analyst at Cowen and Company. “The filibustering of the Senate is still the biggest obstacle and I suspect it will retain the most difficult of these bills. But the House is going faster and further against the technology than expected. “
The bills meet fierce opposition from tech companies who have staged their massive lobbying operations. Ahead of Wednesday’s votes, Apple sent a letter to committee heads warning them that if the bills passed, the company would not be able to offer certain privacy and security features to users. Think tanks and lobby groups funded by tech companies released critical statements ahead of the votes.
The bills “select a handful of America’s most innovative and competitive tech companies for divestiture and draconian regulation,” said Alec Stapp, director of the Progressive Policy Institute, a nonprofit think tank which has received sponsorship from technology companies.