Cicilline Opening Statement for Markup of the “Final Report on Investigation of Competition in Digital Markets”

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I strongly support the Committee’s adoption of the investigative report entitled, “Investigation of Competition in Digital Markets,” along with all supplemental, minority, additional, or dissenting views filed thereto.

The Report was prepared in the 116th Congress by the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law. Before I move to the substance of the Report, I want to take a moment to reflect on the remarkable and bipartisan investigative and oversight work by the members of the Subcommittee during the last Congress.

Over the course of 16 months, the Antitrust Subcommittee conducted a top-to-bottom review of competition in the digital marketplace. Our investigation included the collection and review of nearly 1.3 million documents from the investigated companies, third parties, and antitrust enforcement agencies.

We held seven hearings, with 38 witnesses, to review the effects of market power online. We heard from the chief executives of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. We interviewed more than 240 market participants, technology experts, and current and former employees at the investigated firms. We received input from dozens of leading antitrust scholars, practitioners, economists, and enforcers. We received briefings from the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission, as well as from the investigated companies, industry leaders, civil society, and trade groups.

The Subcommittee’s investigation culminated in a 450-page Report, which included findings and recommendations for a path forward.

Based on an extensive evidentiary record, the Subcommittee concluded that the digital marketplace suffers from a lack of competition. Many digital markets are defined by monopoly or duopoly control. Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google have become gatekeepers to the online economy. They bury or buy rivals and abuse their monopoly power—conduct that is harmful to consumers, competition, innovation, and our democracy.

To remedy these problems, the Subcommittee concluded that Congress must act to strengthen and modernize our antitrust laws. Additionally, we must take steps to ensure our enforcement agencies have the resources, the tools, and the will to aggressively enforce the laws. Also, we must reassert Congress’s oversight role. It is our duty to restore the original intent of the antitrust laws where it has been neglected by lax enforcement or eroded by the courts.

Today’s markup to order the Report out of Committee is an important part of the process, and reflects the seriousness of the investigation.

Before closing, I want to thank my colleagues for their diligent work throughout the investigation. Members of the Subcommittee from both sides of the aisle worked painstakingly to review evidence and examine highly complex issues. The investigative record and the Report would not have been as robust and impactful without these contributions.

I particularly want to thank Chairman Nadler for his leadership, as well as my friend, Mr. Buck, the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, for his thoughtful approach and collaboration, as well as former Ranking Member of the full Committee, Mr. Collins and his staff.

I urge my colleagues to support adoption of the Report, and I yield back.


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