Lawmaker who opposed tech antitrust bills to become top Democrat on House subcommittee

Rep. Lou Correa, D-CA, questions witnesses during an impeachment inquiry hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Dec. 9, 2019.
Doug Mills | Pool | Getty Images

Rep. Lou Correa, D-Calif., who opposed a package of bills seeking to reform antitrust law to rein in Big Tech companies, will become the top Democrat on the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust, Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., announced Wednesday.

CNBC first reported that Correa was the top contender for the role, despite his voting record on antitrust deviating from that of his predecessor. Former Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., who stepped down from Congress earlier this month to lead a philanthropic group, previously led the subcommittee with an emphasis on cracking down on what he viewed as digital monopolies.

Correa’s elevation to the top Democratic seat on the subcommittee marks a likely change in tone. That shift was already set in motion on the Republican side, when the top champion of the tech reform bills, Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., was passed over for the chairmanship in favor of Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky. Buck had previously served as the top Republican on the subcommittee.

While Correa’s new role likely won’t result in immediate changes given that Republicans control the House and the ability to set committee agendas, some opponents fear his ascension could make it harder to replace him should Democrats take back the House in the next election.

When he was chair, Cicilline spearheaded an investigation into Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook which found the four maintained monopoly power. It resulted in a package of bills to limit their power that passed through the subcommittee under Cicilline’s stewardship. But Correa and other California lawmakers on the subcommittee voted against the bills.

Correa gained the support of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus for the position, Punchbowl News reported last week, noting, “Only two Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus currently serve on the Judiciary Committee, even though many of the issues that it covers disproportionately impact Latino communities. Elevating Congressman Correa to Ranking Member would help ensure that the voices of the largest ethnic minority in the country would be well represented on some of the issues that matter most to them.”

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