US House Votes To Pass Merger Antitrust Bill

The US House Of Representatives voted to pass an antitrust package that would give federal enforcers more resources to crack down on anticompetitive behavior, even as broader efforts targeting Big Tech have stalled. It passed by a vote of 242-184.

The passage of the bill, the Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act, marks a significant step in a deeply divided Congress. A version of the bill already passed the Senate and the House package gained the support of the White House in a statement this week.

The bill would increase the fees businesses pay to federal agencies when a large merger deal requires government review, which would raise money for the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice Antitrust Division. In the case of smaller deals in need of review, fees would be lowered.

The antitrust agencies have complained of being severely under-resourced for years, even as the rate of deal-making has soared and many lawmakers have increasingly expected them to bring more cases enforcing antitrust statutes. The Congressional Budget Office recently estimated the measure would save the federal government $1.4 billion over the next five years.

The package passed by the House also included what were once two separate bills. The first, the Foreign Merger Subsidy Disclosure Act, would require merging companies to disclose to federal agencies subsidies by foreign adversaries, like Chinese and Russian entities.