US: House Passes bill to reduce FTC merger Powers

On May 9 he US House of Representatives passed Republican legislation to trim the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) merger enforcement powers, as a new Republican majority assumes control of the agency, reported Bloomberg.

The bill passed 230-185 over objections from Democrats. It would end the FTC’s ability to challenge mergers through administrative litigation. The FTC, like the Justice Department, would be limited to seeking a court injunction if it wants to stop a transaction.

Currently, in addition to going to court to challenge a merger, the FTC can use an internal process through which cases are heard and decided by an administrative law judge.

Similar legislation passed the House in the last Congress but stalled in the Senate. Senator Mike Lee (Republican – Utah), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee, plans to introduce a companion bill as soon as the week of May 14, Bloomberg Law reported

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