Kristian Stout and Dirk Auer on What the Election Means for Tech

TechTarget – ICLE Director of Innovation Policy Kristian Stout and Director of Competition Policy Dirk Auer were both quoted by TechTarget in a story about what the 2022 midterms will likely mean for the tech sector. You can read full piece here.

The lack of strong bipartisan support for antitrust reform bills has been a significant struggle for Democrats. Though bipartisan support exists for some of the bills, it hasn’t been enough to advance them to a final vote, said Dirk Auer, director of competition policy at the International Center for Law and Economics (ICLE).

“Losing either one of the houses in Congress would make it harder for the Democrats to pass these bills,” he said. “If they had a very strong bipartisan coalition to pass these bills, that would have been done already.”

Bloomberg reported that the Biden administration will attempt to push some of the antitrust reform bills forward in the lame-duck period following the midterm elections. If the Republicans control one or both chambers of Congress, their support for antitrust reform bills during the lame-duck period will erode and likely won’t progress on Democrats’ terms, Auer said.

“They will want to leverage their stronger position and get the bills they want,” Auer said.

…Most of the bills introduced by both parties to reform Section 230 lack traction in Congress, something the midterm elections are also unlikely to change, said Kristian Stout, director of innovation policy at ICLE.

Stout said such strong disagreements exist between Republicans and Democrats on Section 230 reform that actual change to the law or interpretation of the law would most likely come from the Supreme Court instead of Congress. The Supreme Court might pursue a First Amendment case raised by the social media laws in Texas and Florida banning tech companies from removing content based on users’ political beliefs.

“I don’t think Congress is going to come out with radical changes to 230 anytime soon,” Stout said.