Oct 6, 2020 - Technology

House tech antitrust probe set to reach three separate conclusions

A photo of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifying via videoconference before House lawmakers in July.
Photo by Mandel Ngan/Pool via Getty Images

Instead of just one report coming out of the House Judiciary Committee's year-long tech antitrust probe, there will likely be one from the Democratic majority and two from Republicans.

Why it matters: The latest developments blunt the likelihood that the parties can come together to rewrite antitrust laws for the digital economy, which Republican and Democratic policymakers alike have said they want to do.

The state of play: Democrats are still committed to soon releasing their own report, to include findings of their investigation into competition in digital markets as well as likely legislative proposals on how antitrust laws should be updated.

Yes, but: That may be coming without GOP support. Lead Judiciary Republican Rep. Jim Jordan will instead be releasing a separate report focusing on allegations of conservative bias by tech platforms, a Republican aide told Axios.

Meanwhile: Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) won't be signing onto the Democrats' report either, despite agreeing with many of its conclusions, and will be releasing a response he's calling "The Third Way," he told Axios on Tuesday.

  • "I agree with about 330 pages of the majority report, that these tech companies have been acting anti-competitively," he said. "It's very common for Republicans and Democrats to agree on a problem and offer different solutions to solve a problem."
  • Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz and Doug Collins are also signing onto Buck's response, a source familiar with the matter told Axios.

Between the lines: Buck maintains the releases aren't competing reports per se, but separate products of a bipartisan exercise. "I'm really proud to be included in the process, and I think other Republicans are also," he said.

Our thought bubble: The end result as far as the general public is concerned will still ultimately be three separate reports illustrating the partisan cracks that have been apparent throughout this process.

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