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Congress Countdown

Here at Capital in Context, we do advent calendars a little differently. Starting today, we’re launching a new series we’re calling Congress Countdown—with the goal of giving you the rundown of what you can expect from the 118th Congress in specific issue areas. Watch for more topic areas in the coming weeks.

Congress Countdown: Competition/Antitrust Pivot

When it comes to competition and antitrust policy, we expect Congressional Republicans to shift from focusing on competition and antitrust concerns to censorship of conservative political speech and perceived "woke" behavior by corporate America.

Some level of Senate bipartisanship is likely to remain, where "Big Tech" antitrust bills are likely to be re-introduced in some form.

More aggressive action from the two antitrust agencies will challenge consolidation across industries and continue pursuit of lawsuits against Big Tech firms. 

Republicans will likely:

  • Increase oversight into DOJ’s Antitrust Division and the FTC.

  • Hold hearings aimed at tech companies-likely focused on speech and censorship issues.

  • Be less inclined to move expansive antitrust legislation and grant resources and authority to antitrust enforcement agencies.

By the Numbers

Congress Countdown: Tech and Media Microscope

The New GOP House majority will pursue oversight, investigations and legislation targeted at technology and media companies, as well as a myriad of other policy areas.

Key legislation focuses on comprehensive data privacy, kids’ privacy and safety online and Section 230/viewpoint discrimination.

Republicans will likely:

  • Initiate legislative and oversight activity targeted at Big Tech and Hollywood—including the pursuit of comprehensive and kids’ privacy legislation—and target the companies’ ties to China and alleged censorship of conservative viewpoints.

  • Work with the Biden administration to restrict China’s access to semiconductor and other technologies and pursue oversight if they believe the administration is being insufficiently aggressive.

  • Move legislation to update the laws governing autonomous vehicles (AVs) and conduct aggressive oversight of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to speed the rulemaking process.

  • Conduct oversight of Biden Administration implementation of broadband connectivity programs, seeking examples of waste.

  • Increase oversight of the FCC and FTC. However, each entity will continue to operate as a 2-2 (FCC) and 3-1 (FTC) body for the foreseeable future.

Congress Countdown: Tangle on Tax

Tax policy is likely to remain fractious and highly partisan, with Republicans focused on extending business and individual tax preferences that expire in 2025, and Democrats focused on provisions for lower-income taxpayers, such as the refundable child tax credit and earned income tax credit.

Key legislation includes the expiring 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act provisions, the child tax credit, earned income tax credit and international tax reforms.

Areas for bipartisan cooperation in near term do exist, but are limited to smaller items such as pension reform, disaster relief, and perhaps tax extenders.

Republicans will likely:

  • Remain focused on making items in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act permanent.

  • Attempt to reverse certain business tax increasessuch as amortizing R&D expenses, that went into effect this year.

  • Attempt to use the annual appropriations process to roll back IRS enforcement funding or place new limits on the use of the funds.

  • Conduct oversight aimed at IRS leaks of confidential taxpayer information, such as the leak to ProPublica.

December 6, 2022
By Nedra Pickler and Irene Moskowitz
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