GOP Rep. Jordan blasts Big Tech antitrust package, says government will 'target conservatives'

GOP Colorado Rep. Ken Buck traded barbs with Jordan over the plan.

Updated: September 27, 2022 - 5:06pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

The House of Representatives is preparing to vote on a set of bills to grant federal agencies broader authority to pursue antitrust actions against major tech firms, but Republicans are split on the issue.

Two of the bills, the Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act and the State Antitrust Enforcement Venue Act, cleared the House Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support, The Hill noted. However, committee ranking member Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio., stands as one of their most prominent critics.

In a Tuesday Tweet, the Ohio Republican asked, "Do you think we should give the Biden DOJ and FTC more money? Do you trust they won't use the money to target conservatives?" A further Tweet from the House Judiciary GOP account echoed Jordan's concerns. "Democrats want to set aside more money for the Biden FTC and DOJ to target conservatives. Do you REALLY trust they'll use that money wisely?" the Tweet read.

The legislative package will raise merger filing fees for large firms and lower them for small ones. It will further grant state attorneys broader discretion when pursuing antitrust actions, including choosing their legal venue and requiring that firms disclose foreign subsidies from U.S. adversaries, per The Hill.

GOP Colorado Rep. Ken Buck traded barbs with Jordan over the plan, touting support from Senatorial Republicans.

"This package represents a strong, bipartisan consensus approach to strengthening enforcement of the federal antitrust laws, against both Big Tech and other bad actors," wrote GOP Sens. Chuck Grassley, Iowa, Tom Cotton, Ark., and Mike Lee, Utah, of the plan, The Hill reported. "Importantly, these bills improve antitrust enforcement without appropriating any more funds to President Biden's out-of-control FTC. We call on all of our colleagues in the House of Representatives to strongly support this package."

The intra-party tension over the package comes after the Senate Judiciary Committee last week advanced a separate anti-Big Tech bill that would allow media outlets to form cartels to negotiate with major platforms for a temporary period. That plan, too, sparked an intra-party debate. Despite 11 Senate Republicans voting to advance the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act out of committee, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy derided the bill as "the antithesis of conservatism" and encouraged his colleagues to oppose the measure.

Just the News Spotlight