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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A group known for taking on Big Tech is biting into its next target: food delivery apps like Grubhub, UberEats, Postmates and DoorDash.

Driving the news: The Economic Liberties Project, in a new campaign it calls "Protect our Restaurants" launching Tuesday, is encouraging restaurants to lobby for local laws that cap the commissions these apps can collect.

Context: Restaurants that can no longer serve most diners during the pandemic have turned to partnerships with food delivery apps. But in many cases, these apps charge the restaurants roughly 30% of every transaction.

  • Before the coronavirus, apps like DoorDash and UberEats provided eateries with a bonus on top of sales from in-person dining and drinks.
  • Now, when the whole business is takeout and delivery, they're being devastated by the fees, Katy Connors, executive director of the Independent Restaurant Alliance of Oregon, told Axios.
  • "There is value within these companies," she said. "What we need is for them to get on the same page as us."

Details: The Economic Liberties Project is providing restaurants with an organizing guide with tips on contacting local legislators and encouraging them to sign a letter to the Federal Trade Commission urging the agency to investigate GrubHub, DoorDash, UberEats and Postmates.

  • According to the group's tracking, at least 15 major cities in the U.S., and the state of New Jersey, have implemented delivery fee caps of anywhere from 5 to 20%, and dozens more are considering legislation. Many of these caps are set to end whenever the coronavirus emergency does.
  • The group is hopeful that local action will mirror future federal action on food delivery apps.
  • "The overall goal is to make sure that this public utility service, food delivery apps, are run like public utilities," Matt Stoller, director of research at the Economic Liberties Project, told Axios.

The other side: Food delivery apps generally defend their commissions by noting that the fees are their main source of revenue and pointing to the many services they provide their restaurant partners.

  • Those services include "things like paying and providing benefits to delivery couriers, marketing, customer service, courier support, exposure to new customers, and insurance," as Ashley De Smeth, Postmates' head of public affairs, told Axios in statement.

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Lyft posted a much larger loss than analysts expected, though it beat revenue estimates, in its third quarter results reported Tuesday. But on a call with analysts, the company pointed to its recent legislative victory in California and the potential it sees in expanding its foray into delivery as signs of better times ahead.

Why it matters A week ago, Lyft and other gig companies got California voters to back a ballot proposal that cements their drivers' status as independent contractors, which is central to the companies' business models.

House passes sweeping election and anti-corruption bill

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The House voted 220-210Wednesday to pass Democrats' expansive election and anti-corruption bill.

Why it matters: Expanding voting access has been a top priority for Democrats for years, but the House passage of the For the People Act (H.R. 1) comes as states across the country consider legislation to rollback voting access in the aftermath of former President Trump's loss.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

House passes George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

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The House voted 220 to 212 on Wednesday evening to pass a policing bill named for George Floyd, the Black man whose death in Minneapolis last year led to nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

Why it matters: The legislation overhauls qualified immunity for police officers, bans chokeholds at the federal level, prohibits no-knock warrants in federal drug cases and outlaws racial profiling.