Klobuchar is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, reintroduced two pieces of legislation to modernize antitrust enforcement and promote competition.
Antitrust enforcement agencies need adequate tools and resources to address the threat of economic concentration, promote competition, and protect consumers. The Merger Enforcement Improvement Act would update existing law to reflect the current economy and provide agencies with better information post-merger to ensure that merger enforcement is meeting its goals. This bill would modernize antitrust enforcement by improving the agencies’ ability to assess the impact of merger settlements, requiring studies of new issues, adjusting merger filing fees to reflect the 21st century economy, and providing adequate funding for antitrust agencies to meet their obligations to protect American consumers. The bill is cosponsored by Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Angus King (I-ME), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT).
The Consolidation Prevention and Competition Promotion Act of 2019 would restore the original purpose of the Clayton Antitrust Act to promote competition and protect American consumers. The bill would strengthen the current legal standard to help stop harmful consolidation that may materially lessen competition. It would clarify that a merger could violate the statute if it gives a company “monopsony” power to unfairly lower the prices it pays or wages it offers because of lack of competition among buyers or employers. The bill further strengthens the law to guard against harmful “mega-mergers” and deals that substantially increase market concentration, shifting the burden to the merging companies to prove that their consolidation does not harm competition. The bill is cosponsored by Senators Markey, Blumenthal, and Booker.
“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,” Klobuchar said. “Tackling concentrations of power is a linchpin to a healthy economy. These aren’t partisan issues, they’re consumer issues, and these bills will protect consumers by modernizing antitrust enforcement and promoting competition.”
Klobuchar has championed efforts to protect consumers increase competition. Klobuchar introduced legislation—that has 33 cosponsors—to lift the ban on Medicare negotiating for the best possible price of prescription drugs for nearly 41 million seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D. In January, Klobuchar and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced the bipartisan Preserve Access to Affordable Generics and Biosimilars Act to crack down on anti-competitive pay-for-delay pharmaceutical deals in which branded companies pay their generic competitors not to compete as part of a patent settlement. Klobuchar and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, authored the Short on Competition Act to allow temporary importation of drugs that have been approved in another country with similar safety requirements and face little or no competition in the U.S.