Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Major legislation aimed at reining in the power of tech giants advanced to the House floor Thursday after marathon debate that extended through the night.

The big picture: The House Judiciary Committee approved a package of six bills, blocking most of a blizzard of amendments and beating back a wave of lobbying from the affected companies — Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon.

Why it matters: The bills aim to limit future acquisitions by the four largest tech companies, prevent them from favoring their own products on their platforms, and require them to make their services interoperable and their user data portable.

  • A final bill approved Thursday afternoon would allow antitrust enforcers to break up companies that both own a platform and offer a competing service on it.
  • If the measures become law, they'd represent the largest expansion of U.S. antitrust powers in generations.

State of play: The ranks of both Democrats and Republicans showed splits on the proposals.

  • Moderate Democrats raised questions about the breadth of the bills and their impact on innovation, even as the measures were largely propelled by Democratic support.
  • Meanwhile, a handful of Republicans joined Democrats in backing the proposals, while most GOP members said they failed to address the party's biggest beef with tech — its alleged censorship of conservatives' speech.

Between the lines: The Democrats' split was especially notable in the California delegation, whose members represent three of the four targeted companies.

  • Rep. Eric Swalwell, a Democrat, said he couldn't support three of the bills, and noted in a statement that he represents thousands of employees who would likely be affected.
  • Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren warned about the possible practical implications of the bills — such as banning Amazon Prime shipping or breaking up Apple. She also warned of unintended consequences the bills may have on smaller companies like Reddit.
  • Rep. Karen Bass, another California Democrat, said she would support to move the bills out of the committee, but believes more work on them needs to be done before a vote on the House floor.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) will also be key to passing these bills in the House.

  • Pelosi has not said specifically whether she supports or rejects the bills, but has had issues with Big Tech.
  • McCarthy has accused Big Tech of being biased against conservatives, but generally does not support the bills.

Meanwhile, California Republicans also found a lot to hate in the legislation.

  • Rep. Darrell Issa called the bills an "unprecedented expansion of big government" with a "grab-bag of anti-business provisions." He and Lofgren found common ground opposing a bill that gives state attorneys general more power to choose the venue for antitrust actions, arguing that it would result in repetitive cases in multiple states.

Yes, but: Rep. Pramila Jayapal — the Democratic sponsor of the final bill under consideration, which could lead to the break up of Big Tech companies — hails from Amazon's home state of Washington.

  • "I probably have about 60% of my constituents who work for one of these big four companies, you add in Microsoft, maybe it's more," Jayapal said during the hearing. "So, this is not something that we do lightly."

The intrigue: Lawmakers expressed concern that the bills would only apply to Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google and not other large companies like Microsoft, or even Walmart.com.

  • Rep. Tom Massie (R-Ky.) repeatedly asked Cicilline if Microsoft lobbied its way out of being covered by the bills, which Cicilline repeatedly denied. (A Microsoft spokesperson told Axios the company did not seek to be excluded from the bills.)
  • The committee approved an amendment from Lofgren that expanded the definition of platforms covered by the bills to include "operating systems" rather than just "mobile operating systems."
  • Critics had argued that under the mobile operating system definition, Microsoft would not be included.

What's next: These bills have moved quickly and decisively so far. But the California delegation's hesitation to fully support them may foretell some trouble for them in the full House, and their future in the Senate is likely to be even rockier.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the committee's Thursday vote in favor of the final of six bills.

Go deeper

Sep 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Republicans’ secret lobbying

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The five Senate Republicans who helped negotiate and draft the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill have been privately courting their Republican colleagues to pass the measure in the House.

Why it matters: House GOP leaders are actively urging their members to oppose the bill. The senators are working to undercut that effort as Monday shapes up as a do-or-die moment for the bipartisan bill.

Everyone wants to be an influencer

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The number of people looking to become online influencers has exploded during the pandemic.

Why it matters: Almost anyone can find themselves in a position to become an influencer, and brands are throwing billions of dollars at online content creators.

At least 3 dead after Amtrak train derails in Montana

Photo: Jacob Cordeiro/Twitter

An Amtrak train derailed near Joplin, Montana, resulting in at least three deaths and multiple injuries to passengers and crew on Saturday, per authorities and a company statement.

The big picture: 141 passengers and 16 crew members were estimated to be on the Empire Builder train, traveling from Chicago to Seattle and Portland, when eight of the 10 cars derailed about 4p.m., Amtrak said early Sunday.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!