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Democrats Introduce Bill Prohibiting Mergers Over $5B

 |  March 17, 2022

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) introduced a bill Wednesday that would give federal antitrust enforcers greater power to block and break up mergers. 

The Prohibiting Anticompetitive Mergers Act would allow the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice to reject large merger deals without a court order. It would also give the government power to retroactively break up deals that resulted in a market share above 50 percent or “materially harmed” competition, workers, consumers, or small or minority-owned businesses. 

The proposal is backed by a coalition of progressives in both chambers, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.), and follows a series of proposals introduced in Congress targeting the market power of tech giants. 

Several antitrust reform bills have made their way out of committee in the House and Senate, but none have passed a full chamber. The Warren and Jones proposal may also face a tough road ahead. The bill lacks any GOP sponsors, and it is also notably missing Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), the chairs of the Senate and House antitrust panels, among the list of co-sponsors. 

Under the Warren and Jones proposal, a “prohibited merger” would include deals valued at more than $5 billion, deals resulting in market shares of more than 33 percent for sellers or 25 percent for employers, and deals resulting in highly concentrated markets under the 1992 agency guidelines.