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Biden Administration Proposes $63 Million Boost for DOJ Antitrust Division

 |  March 11, 2024

In a move aimed at fortifying the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) antitrust enforcement arm, President Joe Biden has proposed a significant $63 million increase in funding for the fiscal year 2025 budget. The proposal, unveiled on Monday, signals a commitment to bolstering efforts to ensure robust competition in the marketplace, amidst ongoing debates within Congress over funding allocations for the agency, reported Bloomberg.

The proposed budget for the fiscal year starting October 1 would elevate the division’s resources to a total of $288 million, a notable escalation compared to the fiscal 2023 enacted level. However, it falls short of the funding level Biden had sought in the previous year. The allocation is intended to empower antitrust enforcement endeavors, with a focus on driving competition, reducing costs, and elevating wages for American citizens, as outlined in the Budget of the US Government for Fiscal Year 2025.

The increased funding comes at a critical juncture for the DOJ’s antitrust division, which is poised to initiate legal action against tech giant Apple Inc. this month. This forthcoming lawsuit adds to a series of high-profile cases already on the agency’s docket, underscoring the need for substantial resources to effectively pursue enforcement efforts.

Related: Biden Administration Seeks 11% Rise In FTC & DOJ Funding

Despite the administration’s push for enhanced funding, it is anticipated that Congress may allocate less money than initially requested, continuing a trend observed in recent years. Last week, Congress passed a spending bill for 2024, which includes funding for the DOJ and other agencies through September. However, the bill imposes limitations on the DOJ’s access to fees collected from merging companies, sparking criticism from several lawmakers.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) expressed concerns over potential cuts to antitrust enforcement funding, citing the influence of lobbyists and legal representatives from Wall Street and Big Tech. Under the spending deal, the antitrust division is set to receive $233 million for enforcement efforts this year from fees garnered from merging companies. This amount falls short by $45 million compared to the Congressional Budget Office’s estimation of the agency’s fee collection for the current year.

As discussions unfold within Congress regarding the final budgetary allocations, the fate of the DOJ’s antitrust division funding remains a point of contention.

Source: News Bloomberg Law