Homepage / Technology / The federal lawmakers who regulate Amazon are begging the company to move to their home states
Alibaba’s Jack Ma says bitcoin is 'likely' a bubble while embracing its underlying blockchain tech Netflix is on pace for its worst day in 2 years Carnival shares plunge the most in 2 years after slashing full-year forecast Even amid a potential trade war, US stocks are still beating the rest of the world Chip stocks plunge after Trump's reported plan to restrict foreign technology investment Apple will have a special news section for the midterm elections, curated by human editors Amazon could double Whole Foods' customer base with Prime perks: Analyst Goldman Sachs-backed Circle sees boom in crypto demand from institutional investors, despite bear market Treasury Secretary Mnuchin says investment restrictions will apply to 'all countries that are trying to steal our technology' Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz calls the stock ‘cheap,’ but some say it’s cheap for a reason AT&T to buy online ad firm AppNexus US new home sales surge in May Buy AMD because of its ‘generational opportunity’ to gain share against Intel: Bank of America 'This isn't even a tech index': Ex-NYSE president Tom Farley throws shade at the Nasdaq Legendary investor Bill Miller reveals the biggest mistake value investors are making now Majority of Americans approve of Trump's handling of the economy for the first time: CNBC survey Microsoft given buy rating because of cloud computing growth Intel is downgraded due to ‘lack of leadership’ after CEO resignation; shares fall Here are 5 reasons why your portfolio isn't performing well China extends its lead as the most prolific make of supercomputers Uber kicks off a fight to keep operating in one of its most important cities Erdogan wins more power, and it might not help Turkey's economy Beyond the South China Sea: Beijing may target these waterways next European markets seen lower on trade, migration concerns India has proposed a new fix for its bad debt problem. It may not be enough One of the world's hottest property markets is readying a contentious change US to give North Korea post-summit timeline with 'asks' soon, official says Trump is reportedly planning major new restrictions against China Asia set for a cautious open as US-China trade tensions simmer Many companies at Cannes Lions had yachts, but Google, Facebook, Spotify and Twitter have beaches Tech could soon turn into the market's headache: Wells Fargo's Chris Harvey Forget millennials: Here's a good reason why Apple should hire your grandmother How Amazon's roaring success selling batteries is making it wonder which market it can disrupt next A company is showing how blockchain is more than just cryptocurrency — it can also cut food waste AT&T and Verizon have drones that could provide cell service and save lives this hurricane season How the Supreme Court may have made Web shopping pricier for just about everyone but Amazon How to choose between an Amazon Echo, a Google Home and an Apple HomePod Electric scooters draw hordes of investors and avid users — but a number of critics as well This floating robotic factory will build satellites and spaceships in orbit Meet the man whose job it is to reassure people that Google search isn’t evil Euro is here to stay: German finance minister China's ZTE expected to take last step to lift ban Cramer Remix: The best way to play the stress test results Red Hat CEO on earnings-led stock drop: 'I would encourage investors to look long term' Apple launches free repair program for MacBook and MacBook Pro keyboards The founder of JetBlue is about to start a new airline Tesla is suing an ex-employee for hacking into its 'MOS' software — here's what that system does Morgan Stanley sees 'a pattern forming' of the space industry developing like self-driving cars Buy Intel shares because its CEO change will not hurt the chipmaker: Credit Suisse Xiaomi reportedly awards founder $1.5 billion in stock ahead of IPO Tesla reports another fire at Fremont factory Tesla shares drop after analyst raises concern over a rise in its services costs Increased threat of a trade war is ramping up fears of a 'full-blown recession' CarMax shares surge to record high, on pace for their best day in 4 years If energy can clear one hard-to-break level, it’s off to the races, chart watcher says Warren Buffett: 'Any time the market takes a sharp dive,' read this book Supreme Court rules warrants required for cellphone location data Trump urges OPEC to 'keep prices down' as oil cartel's meeting wraps up Cramer: Strength in tech and retail has 'masked' weakness in the broader market Buy EA shares because it is ‘building a Netflix for video games’: Needham What’s at stake in Turkey’s elections, and why Erdogan could actually lose Facebook’s ‘lack of accountability’ in its data scandal spurs European sustainability fund to dump shares Goldman Sachs: GE should suspend dividend for the next 18 months OPEC ministers strike deal on oil production levels Stocks making the biggest moves premarket: BB, MDT, URI, JPM, BAC & more Pro tips on taking great video of your vacation — right from your phone All 35 times the market did this, stocks ended the year higher Bitcoin tumbles after Japan watchdog orders exchanges to beef up practices against money laundering Husband cheating? Ashley Madison says member signups spiked in these cities last year James Comey: Public anger about migrant children is ‘why Trump ran’ from the policy Chinese stocks are flirting with bear market territory as trade worries fester BlackBerry posts quarterly loss Friday will likely be the year's biggest stock market volume day with big action in Apple, JP Morgan Rival Koreas agree to reunions of war-separated families US companies like Micron are accusing China of intimidation and outright theft to dominate tech Disney said it's willing to divest more Fox assets for to get a deal cleared by regulators Tesla is preparing to close a dozen solar facilities in 9 states Uber driver was streaming Hulu show 'The Voice' just before self-driving car crash: Police report OPEC heads into showdown over oil output, with Saudi Arabia and Iran on different sides Chinese media says US has 'delusions' as impact of trade war spreads YouTube introduces paid subscriptions and merchandise selling in bid to help creators monetize the platform Airbus says no-deal Brexit would force it to reconsider UK presence European stocks seen slightly higher ahead of OPEC meeting Euro zone hits 'historic moment' as it closes eight years of financial support to Greece Trade tensions are the biggest risk for the euro zone, the IMF says With freedom to drive, Saudi Arabia's women could change the economy Taiwan's Foxconn says biggest challenge is US-China trade war Euro zone agrees on debt relief package for Greece Asian shares set to decline, taking cues from Wall Street's losses; OPEC meeting ahead Chevrolet is bringing back the Blazer as a crossover Cramer Remix: It was the hottest group in the market until Red Hat reported SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket wins Air Force certification and a $130 million contract Cramer goes out on a limb in support of chipmaker Micron Okta CEO explains why his cybersecurity company has a leg up on big-name tech giants like Microsoft Cramer: CEO change aside, Intel's stock is too cheap at these levels The head of Amazon's marketplace has lost most of his authority amid internal shake-up Alphabet reportedly may spin out molten-salt project with Bill Gates' $1 billion energy fund Red Hat slides on low guidance Tax automation company soars after Supreme Court decision Why Amazon is the winner of the Supreme Court sales tax ruling

Technology

The federal lawmakers who regulate Amazon are begging the company to move to their home states

Few things unite a Republican stalwart like Roy Blunt and a Democratic firebrand like Claire McCaskill. But the prospect of a political win prompted the two U.S. senators to put aside their differences this week — and practically plead with Amazon to plop its new headquarters in their shared home state of Missouri.

In doing so, the duo joined a growing group of federal lawmakers — from Pennsylvania to Texas — who are actively angling for the e-commerce giant’s second corporate outpost, dubbed HQ2. The new hub could generate 50,000 new jobs and $5 billion in fresh Amazon investment wherever it ultimately lands, at least in the company’s eyes.

For members of Congress, though, this sort of race to capture corporate cash and attention always presents an immense contradiction. Enticing new jobs and dollars sometimes means that lawmakers must woo the very businesses that they’re supposed to be regulating with a far more objective eye.

More from Recode:
Amazon’s invasion of Kohl’s has begun
TV producers can now see how many people are watching Netflix shows
An Abu Dhabi sovereign fund is doubling down on tech with more cash, more office space and more SoftBank

And they face a special challenge when it comes to Amazon, a tech behemoth that has long faced criticism for its hyperaggressive tactics as it conquers new industries, from entertainment to cloud computing to smart-home devices.

“I do think it puts people in a difficult situation, because obviously, on the one hand, you want to speak out strongly on issues of privacy, on issues of antitrust, on issues of tax [compliance],” said Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna, who represents a slice of Silicon Valley, in an interview with Recode. “But I think also many of these members say, ‘Look, 50,000 jobs in our environment, which may not require college degrees, is like winning the lottery.'”

At times, it seems like a precarious balance for lawmakers to strike.

Earlier this year, for example, Democratic Sen. Cory Booker sounded alarms about Amazon’s most recent gambit: Its $14 billion purchase of Whole Foods. At the time, Booker told Recode that the deal — which the U.S. government later approved — could create new headaches for disadvantaged communities already lacking in grocery options.

By October, Booker nonetheless saw new opportunity in Amazon’s desire to set up a shop outside of its Seattle roots. In time for the company’s Oct. 19 application deadline, Booker joined New Jersey’s unpopular Republican governor, Chris Christie, to pitch Newark as the best site for HQ2. Local regulators also promised Amazon a whopping $7 billion in tax breaks if it located its future hub in the city where Booker previously served as mayor.

“Amazon would be smart to come here,” Booker said at a recent press conference.

His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Federal lawmakers aren’t just groveling for their own sake at the feet of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Along with governors and mayors from their states, they’re trying to fulfill the pledges they’ve made to voters — to create new economic opportunities and boost the availability of high-paying jobs.

That’s why Wisconsin pols — including House Speaker Paul Ryan — set about offering $3 billion in tax subsidies this year to another company, Foxconn, which is now set to build a new factory there. Local and federal officeholders in Virginia similarly worked with Facebook to secure its investment in a new 970,000-square-foot data center in the state.

“Facebook’s partnership with Virginia and this significant investment in Henrico County are great news for the region,” Sen. Mark Warner said this October.

But these efforts are immensely beneficial for tech giants, too. Beyond favorable tax treatment and other financial perks, the deals allow companies in Silicon Valley and beyond a chance to make nice with their regulators — no small advantage at a time when the whole of the industry is under intense fire in the nation’s capital.

Warner, for example, is probing Facebook right now, amid evidence that Russian agents coopted the social media site to influence the 2016 presidential election. He is even set to grill one of Facebook’sexecutives at a hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee next month.

Amazon’s political agenda is immense. To start, the company has a great deal at stake as the U.S. Congress wades into debates over tax and immigration reforms. It also faces flack for its size, as lawmakers like Sen. Elizabeth Warren question whether tech platforms in general are too large for their own good.

And Amazon has a public enemy in the White House: President Donald Trump has regularly lambasted the company’s leader, Bezos, for his ownership of The Washington Post, even claiming that the newspaper allows the tech giant to dodge U.S. taxes.

Those obstacles have driven Amazon to spend roughly $6.1 million to lobby federal officeholders so far this year, according to federal ethics filings. By the end of 2017, Amazon could even break its lobbying record in Washington, D.C. And in the eyes of the company’s skeptics, regulatory concerns could shape the Amazon’s thinking about how — and where — to situate its next corporate headquarters.

“It’s striking to me that Amazon has created this situation in which elected officials across the country are signaling to their constituents that Amazon is a great company … and that we should bend over backwards to try to subsidize and support their expansion,” said Stacy Mitchell, the co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. The group has battled with Amazon in the past.

To Rep. Khanna, at least, his fellow lawmakers aren’t entirely “motivated by political interest” as they try to woo Amazon’s HQ2.

“Right now, it’s the absence of any federal policy” — a more organic, government-led efforts to bring jobs and investment to areas outside Silicon Valley — “that has every member of Congress out for themselves making a sales pitch,” he said in an interview.

Whatever the cause, the courtship from the nation’s capital continues.

In Missouri, for example, McCaskill and Blunt hope their public plea might give a boost to cities like Kansas City and St. Louis. In their missive, sent Monday, they highlighted to Amazon the “smoother ride” of the state’s transportation system, its easy access to airports, its trails for joggers and walkers alike — and, yes, its hip startups, too.

If it seemed too cute, it’s probably Amazon’s fault: The company, after all, told cities and states that it would give great weight to localities that boast the right transportation and infrastructure on top of the best tax terms.

A spokeswoman for McCaskill, however, rejected the notion that the Democratic lawmaker might ease up on the e-commerce giant if Missouri ultimately wins Amazon’s office sweepstakes. “She’s never hesitated to take on tech companies when they disagree,” the aide told Recode, citing the fact that McCaskill supports an anti-sex trafficking bill that the tech industry opposes.

Roughly 700 miles south, meanwhile, two powerful Republican senators from Texas sought to make their own sales pitch to Amazon last week.

“Everything is bigger in Texas, and that includes our economy, our skilled workforce, and our quality of life,” wrote Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz in their letter to the company.

At the moment, big cities like Austin and lesser-known parts of the Lone Star State appear to be vying for Amazon’s HQ2. If one of those Texas towns lands the new headquarters, it could also deliver something of an added political coup for the likes of Cruz — a failed 2016 presidential candidate who may wish to burnish his business bona fides in a future White House bid.

In Delaware, Gov. John Carney enlisted his state’s representatives to the U.S. Congress, including Sens. Chris Coons and Tom Carper, in a bid to get Amazon’s attention. Scores of Pennsylvania lawmakers from both parties did the same, as cities like Philadelphia now vie to be the tech giant’s second home.

And in Colorado, nine Democrats and Republicans who comprise the state’s full congressional delegation banded together in their appeal. Cities like Denver are seen as some of the strongest competitors for Amazon HQ2, but the company has remained mum as to who, if anyone, is on its shortlist.

“Local, state and federal policy makers are committed to continuing the policies that have allowed our state to thrive,” the group of pols wrote, “and we look for you to be a partner in that endeavor.”

CNBC’s parent NBCUniversal is an investor in Recode’s parent Vox, and the companies have a content-sharing arrangement.

Source: Tech CNBC
The federal lawmakers who regulate Amazon are begging the company to move to their home states

Comments are closed.