11 Judiciary Committee Senators Give 11 Reasons to Vote Against S. 2992

Washington, D.C. (01/26/2022) – During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week on S. 2992, the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, senators on both sides of the aisle outlined why the bill is not yet ready for consideration by the full Senate.

In their own words, here are 11 reasons from 11 senators why their colleagues should not support S. 2992:

1. “I will oppose this bill today. I strongly believe it would have been helpful for this bill to receive the benefit of a full committee hearing before we voted on it, in order to discuss these concerns and hope that might still be the case.” – Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) 

2. “I am struck by the bipartisan nature of the questions and concerns that have been raised here today. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that this bill has never had a full committee hearing. A number of us on a bipartisan basis asked the Chairman for a full committee hearing so we can better understand what both the intended and unintended consequences of this legislation are.” – Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) 

3. “I am going to support this bill in markup here today this committee but I expect the bill sponsors will continue to work to address some of these open questions that I, and many others, have expressed about the bill, so that we might be able to further amend it, and ultimately support it in its passage on the floor…I have remaining concerns about privacy and security, about our global competitiveness.” – Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE)

4. “The bill makes it too difficult for online platforms to adequately protect consumers’ privacy…I have other issues I would like to raise with cosponsors of the bill, such as unintended economic consequences for small businesses who rely greatly on online platforms — such as many small businesses in Vermont…I want to make it clear that there are some important issues and ramifications I’d like to see addressed before I would be comfortable supporting the bill on the floor.” – Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

5. “Is this committee willing to trust regulators and courts to crack down on harmful self-preferencing practices while allowing activity that benefits consumers? I think we should approach this problem in a more measured manner to ensure we clearly identify and distinguish self-preferencing activity that hurts consumers from activity that actually helps consumers….I’m not sure what my final vote will be today, but I do think part of the outcome of referencing is an issue that needs to be addressed. And certainly, I’ll look for some significant changes in addressing the issues I’ve outlined this morning to be addressed before I would consider supporting this measure on the floor of the Senate.” – Sen. Alex Padilla (D-CA)

6. “I believe strongly that we’ve got to first do no harm and in order to determine that we are doing no harm we must understand the legislation. This thing has not received the airing that it needs.” – Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT)

7. “I have concerns with this specific bill as it’s currently drafted. I believe the bill overreaches, and it needs further refinement before it’s considered by the full Senate….The bill needs more clarity. As a business person, I have questions about who is covered by the law, what it permits, and what is going to happen in terms of enforcement. Under the bill, preferencing is now illegal, do we even know what that means?” – Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC)

8. “I have concerns with provisions in the bill that could require data sharing between American companies and bad actors under the control of the Chinese Communist Party. I don’t think that’s the intent of the bill or the drafters based on our conversation but I do think we can improve that language to make it safer for our companies and citizens.” – Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR)

9. “[H]aving broad conversations in a hearing today, in a markup today, about self-preferencing or about privacy, or about monopolistic behavior does not replace the need for a more fulsome hearing on this legislation.” – Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)

10. “I am a co-sponsor of the bill. But this bill is going to change, change dramatically. Hopefully for the better. I expect to be in that room when these changes are made. Or else, I will be off this bill faster than you can say big tech.” – Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) 

11. “Striking the appropriate balance between privacy and cybersecurity in this legislation is important. And what I want to offer is a second-degree amendment, Senator Lee, to yours that we toughen the standard slightly that these tech companies have to meet in order to invoke this affirmative defense where privacy or security functionality is concerned.” – Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA)

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