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Unions & SMBs Urge Congress for Antitrust Funding Boost

 |  April 16, 2024

Various unions, small businesses, and advocacy groups are urging the US Congress to allocate more funds to the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to strengthen antitrust enforcement. This call comes ahead of Attorney General Merrick Garland’s expected testimony, emphasizing the need for increased resources to address illegal mergers and conduct.

According to a report by Bloomberg, the Biden administration has prioritized antitrust enforcement as a cornerstone of its economic policy. This focus has led to the Justice Department and FTC challenging a record number of deals and alleging violations of law by major corporations such as Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc., and Corteva Inc.

Despite these efforts, a 2024 spending bill passed earlier this year has limited the funds available to these agencies by redirecting some of the increased fees approved in December 2022 to other programs. This has sparked some concern among antitrust advocates and supporters in Congress, who argue that the current funding levels are not enough to address the complex and resource-intensive nature of enforcement actions against some of the world’s largest and most powerful companies.

The call for increased antitrust funding was articulated in two letters addressed to the leaders of the House and Senate appropriations committees. One letter was endorsed by prominent labor unions, including the Teamsters, Service Employees International Union, and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, alongside more than 30 other advocacy groups. The other letter garnered support from over 30 trade associations and business groups across various industries, from emergency room doctors to grocers and booksellers.

“The current funding for the Antitrust Division and the FTC is not enough for them to deal with increasingly complex and resource-intensive enforcement actions against some of the largest and most powerful companies in the world,” the letters stated. They emphasized the critical need for substantially more funding to enable the antitrust agencies to effectively protect competition and block anticompetitive mergers.

Source: News Bloomberg Law