Reps. Buck, Cicilline form new antitrust caucus to ensure Big Tech crackdown effort survives

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The outgoing leadership of the House’s top antitrust panel is regrouping and making a new push to battle Big Tech amid lingering questions over their successors’ plans.

Reps. David Cicilline, Rhode Island Democrat, and Ken Buck, Colorado Republican, said Thursday they are forming a new Congressional Antitrust Caucus to ensure that their efforts to crack down on Big Tech survive.

Mr. Cicilline lost his position atop the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel when Republicans took control of the House, and Mr. Buck was passed over for the top spot this year in favor of Rep. Thomas Massie, Kentucky Republican. Mr. Buck previously served as the panel’s top-ranking Republican.

“We know how to fix this, and are committed to seeing this work through,” Mr. Cicilline said in a statement.

Mr. Cicilline led the antitrust subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee’s investigation into Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google that produced a 450-page report in October 2020. It called for an overhaul of antitrust law affecting Big Tech companies.

Mr. Buck subsequently worked with Mr. Cicilline on a series of antitrust proposals aiming to crack down on Big Tech.

The Colorado Republican said the new caucus will guarantee that lawmakers pushing for an antitrust crackdown on Big Tech will have an avenue to help make it happen.  

“By creating this caucus, we are showing the American people that we are in Washington to deliver results and that both sides of the aisle can come together to fight against these dangerous monopolistic corporations,” Mr. Buck said in a statement.

The plans of the new leader of the antitrust panel are not fully clear. Mr. Massie has a reputation as an avid free-market defender, and his selection was cheered by advocates of free enterprise.

Some conservatives who favor government intervention to diminish Big Tech’s dominance have criticized Mr. Massie’s elevation, including from the Internet Accountability Project.

Mr. Buck and Mr. Cicilline plan to continue pushing for new antitrust laws cracking down on Big Tech. They intend to hold hearings about Big Tech’s work and want to serve as a “brain trust” for lawmakers who share their vision for overhauling antitrust policy.

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