According to a report from Politico, Noah Phillips, one of two Republican commissioners at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is set to step down.
FTC Commissioner Noah Phillips in a statement said he had written to President Joe Biden announcing his intent to resign this fall. Democrats hold a 3-2 majority on the commission and only three can be from one political party.
Phillips’ departure comes at an extraordinarily high-profile moment at the agency, reported Politico. There is tension between the Republicans and Democrats on the commission under Chair Lina Khan, a progressive antitrust hawk who has targeted the tech giants and corporate concentration across the economy.
While Phillips’ departure is unlikely to have any immediate impact on agency decision making since it won’t threaten Khan’s Democratic majority, it will create another opportunity for the White House and a bipartisan swath of lawmakers to push the agency to get even tougher in its fight against corporate power.
There has also been partisan division amongst the FTC commissioners. Phillips and Commissioner Christine Wilson, the two Republicans, broke with the Democratic majority on votes that aimed to carry out the Democratic Party’s approach to take a tougher stance on antitrust.
Recently, the two Republicans voted against the majority’s decision at the end of July to bring a case against Meta, the parent company of Facebook, to try to block the company’s acquisition of virtual reality company Within Unlimited.