WASHINGTON, April 15 (Reuters) - The U.S. House of
Representatives Judiciary Committee formally approved a report
accusing Big Tech companies of buying or crushing smaller firms,
Representative David Cicilline's office said in a statement on
With the approval during a marathon, partisan hearing, the
more than 400-page staff report will become an official
committee report, and the blueprint for legislation to rein in
the market power of the likes of Alphabet Inc's
Google, Apple Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Facebook
The report was approved by a 24-17 vote that split along
party lines. The companies have denied any wrongdoing.
The report first released in October - the first such
congressional review of the tech industry - suggested extensive
changes to antitrust law and described dozens of instances where
it said the companies had misused their power.
"Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook each hold monopoly
power over significant sectors of our economy. This monopoly
moment must end," Cicilline said in a statement. "I look forward
to crafting legislation that addresses the significant concerns
we have raised."
The first bill has already been introduced. A bipartisan
group of U.S. lawmakers led by Cicilline and Senator Amy
Klobuchar introduced legislation in March aimed at making it
easier for news organizations to negotiate collectively with
platforms like Google and Facebook.
Also in the Senate, Klobuchar introduced a broader bill in
February to strengthen antitrust enforcers' ability to stop
mergers by lowering the bar for stopping deals and giving them
more money for legal fights.
The Cicilline report, whose origins were bipartisan,
contained a menu of potential changes in antitrust law.
Republicans have criticized Big Tech companies for allegedly
censoring conservative speech, pointing to Facebook's and
Twitter's freezing or banning former President Donald Trump's
access to the platforms.
Despite their ire, most Republicans have not backed the
report's proposed changes in antitrust law but instead discussed
stripping social media companies of legal protections they are
accorded under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
The law gives companies immunity over content posted on their
sites by users.
Suggested legislation in the report ranged from the
aggressive, such as potentially barring companies like
Amazon.com from operating the markets in which they also
compete, to the less controversial, like increasing the budgets
of the agencies that enforce antitrust law - the Justice
Department's Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade
The report also urged Congress to allow antitrust enforcers
more leeway in stopping companies from purchasing potential
rivals, something that is now difficult.
(Reporting by Diane Bartz
Editing by David Holmes and Jonathan Oatis)