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Opinion: Klobuchar Bill Not Really Putting Innovation or Choice First

  

Senator Amy Klobuchar and the Biden administration have been pushing hard to get a vote on her American Innovation and Choice Online Act, S.2992, before the election. Why? Because they know it is their best chance to saddle America’s fast-growing tech industry with an EU-inspired, liberal regulatory scheme that would give unelected bureaucrats a huge amount of power over a large sector of the economy.

Like many of the proposals that those on the left have put together, Sen. Klobuchar’s bill is misleadingly named. It does not protect customer choices, nor does it ensure innovation. Indeed, it threatens both.

The vague language in the American Innovation and Choice Online Act deviates so far from existing anti- trust law that it would let the liberal-dominated Federal Trade Commission and federal courts effectively make up the rules as they go along, defining nebulous terms in the bill through regulation or litigation. It would also place barriers in the way of companies that wish to offer consumers integrated tools or services like Google Maps, Facebook Marketplace, or Amazon Prime Video, harming consumers and businesses alike in a misguided attempt to downsize large online companies.

Most critically, language in the bill could put consumer privacy at serious risk by requiring companies to open their data to third parties. Unfortunately, this includes foreign companies that might have ulterior motives (read: data-hungry intelligence agencies in China or Russia) for seeking the sensitive personal information of American citizens.

Sen. Klobuchar has unfortunately sought to leverage conservative concerns about social media censorship into support for her irresponsible bill. However, while it would saddle certain online companies with a frankly punitive regulatory burden, S.2992 does nothing to actually protect free speech rights.

As I have been going around my district, I have heard concerns about sky-high oil prices, historically high inflation, and growing fears of a recession. Not a single person has come up to me and asked for EU- style online regulations.

I think it is wise to think about why the Biden administration is pushing so hard to pass this bill right now, before an election in which Republicans are poised to take back both houses of Congress. It’s not about protecting consumers, it’s about giving liberals a platform to get broad government control over yet another sector of the economy, something they know they could not do with Republicans in charge.

I certainly hope that Senator Blunt and his fellow Republicans will see through this ruse and put S.2992 on ice.