On Friday, February 1, Senator Amy Klobuchar on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel said that she had re-introduced two bills aimed at strengthening enforcement of US antitrust law.
The senator is reintroducing two bills whose co-sponsors include Senators Ed Markey (Dem-Massachusetts), Richard Blumenthal (Dem-Connecticut), Dick Durbin (Dem-Illinois) and another presidential hopeful, Corey Booker (Dem-New Jersey).
The Consolidation Prevention and Competition Promotion Act of 2019 would, among many other things, include revising the Clayton Act to eliminate the trigger that a merger must “substantially” lessen competition to “clarify that the Clayton Act prohibits mergers that, as a result of consolidation, may materially lower quality, reduce choice, reduce innovation, exclude competitors, increase entry barriers, or increase price.”
The Merger Enforcement Improvement Act would, likewise among many other things, require merged parties to submit to the Federal Trade Commission or Justice Department, whichever vetted the deal, data that would allow them to assess the impact of the merger, including pricing of service, the cost-saving benefits claimed in the merger, and the effectiveness of any divestitures.
It is unclear whether the bills will move in this Congress, but Klobuchar suggests the changes are in the interests of both sides. “Antitrust enforcement affects more than just price and output, it’s part of our everyday lives, from the price of groceries at the market to the cost of prescription drugs,” she said.