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Activists demonstrate in Washington, D.C. on July 26, 2022 to urge Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to hold a vote on antitrust legislation.

Activists demonstrate in Washington, D.C. on July 26, 2022 to urge Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to hold votes on antitrust legislation targeting Big Tech. (Photo: Demand Progress)

Schumer Pushed to Stop Defending 'Greedy Monopolies' and Hold Votes on Big Tech Bills

"Schumer is Big Tech's last line of defense against a growing majority in Congress that is fighting to loosen the industry's vise grip on our economy," said one campaigner.

Kenny Stancil

In the streets of the nation's capital and on its cable television networks, progressives are demanding that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer immediately schedule votes on a pair of antitrust bills designed to rein in Big Tech's growing power—something he promised to do by "early summer."

"Schumer has a choice: Side with greedy monopolies or the American people."

On Wednesday, the progressive advocacy group Fight Corporate Monopolies released a new ad, its first cable buy in the D.C. market, criticizing the New York Democrat for delaying bipartisan legislative momentum to crack down on technology giants' increasingly concentrated power.

The new ad suggests that Schumer's familial and financial connections to Big Tech—he has secured big checks from industry executives while one of his daughters lobbies for Amazon and the other works for Facebook—have contributed to his ongoing refusal to hold votes on the American Innovation and Choice Online Act and the Open App Markets Act.

"It's now obvious that Sen. Schumer is Big Tech's last line of defense against a growing majority in Congress that is fighting to loosen the industry's vise grip on our economy," Helen Brosnan, executive director of Fight Corporate Monopolies, said in a statement. "While the senator publicly states that Big Tech regulation is a priority, his close familial ties to tech monopolies and recent cozying up to tech lobbyists tell a different story."

"In his refusal to advance bipartisan Big Tech legislation to the floor," said Brosnan, "Sen. Schumer's behavior demonstrates that when elected officials of both parties prioritize the interests of monopoly power, small businesses, workers, and consumers lose."

Rather than bringing popular antitrust legislation aimed at curbing the power of tech monopolies to the Senate floor, Schumer has been hosting private fundraising meetings with the CEOs of companies that would be affected.

On Tuesday, Schumer reportedly assured a group of donors that the American Innovation and Choice Online Act is unlikely to pass. However, the bill's co-sponsors—Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)—say they have the 60 Senate votes needed to overcome a filibuster and want to bring the measure to the floor before the legislative session ends in less than two weeks.

Outside Bistro Bis, the Capitol Hill restaurant where the high-dollar fundraiser was held, progressive activists protested, greeting Schumer with signs reading, "Call the Vote" and "Stop Chuckin' Up to Big Tech."

"After promising an 'early summer' vote on two critical antitrust bills, Sen. Schumer has failed to keep his word," said Maria Langholz, communications director for Demand Progress. "We showed up tonight to make sure that, even as he was meeting behind closed doors with big donors, Sen. Schumer is forced to hear the voice of the people who are clamoring to rein in Big Tech."

Demonstrators also parked a mobile billboard outside the restaurant urging Schumer to assign a date for floor votes on both antitrust proposals.

Activists demonstrate in Washington, D.C. on July 26, 2022 to urge Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to hold votes on antitrust legislation targeting Big Tech. (Photo: Demand Progress)

"Since Sen. Schumer has failed for months to schedule a vote," said Even Greer, director of Fight for the Future, "we thought we'd help him out by once again sending our mobile billboard to the most convenient place possible—tonight's fundraising dinner, an event he surely prioritized."

For weeks, Fight for the Future's mobile billboard, dubbed the "Chuck Truck," has been circling Schumer's neighborhood playing Last Week Tonight's recent takedown of Big Tech.

"This time the billboard was a giant calendar that should have made it easy for him to keep his promise to bring these bills to a vote with no further delays," said Greer.

Klobuchar told Bloomberg News on Tuesday that Schumer "promised a vote on this bill and we take him at his word."

"We have growing momentum and the support to pass the bill despite the fact that the companies have spent an atrocious amount of money on lobbyists and TV ads spreading false information," she added.


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