Well thank you very much mr. chairman. We've long chaired this committee together and I am very pleased that we're having this oversight hearing. I'm also pleased at all the interest the sudden interest in our antitrust hearing that's great that you're all here and maybe some of it has to do with our guests I don't think they're gonna make us Saturday Night Live's get out of this hearing but we are pleased pleased to be back in this room with assistant attorney general del Rahim and also with FTC Chairman Simon's and while the chairman did mention some delay I was I supported both of you as you know and I think it's very important that we keep bipartisan work going on in this area as both of our witnesses have now settled into their jobs it's an appropriate time to review what your agencies are doing to protect competition and to address enforcement challenges I just think back to my favorite game growing up which was monopoly the basic premise was that the more you owned the more you made and there has always been that element in American capitalism if you monopolize the board in that game by buying up multiple properties of the same color and covering them in rent producing real estate you could basically take your opponents out of the game especially if you owned the four railroads or maybe Park Place I'm not going to get into the whole thing but the issue right now is we're seeing more and more of this in the real world one example the failed merger between Norfolk Southern Railway and Canadian Pacific's something that we took on immediately after it was announced but even without the merger 90 percent of the freight traffic in this country is handled by only four railroads which is the exact number of railroads on the Monopoly board so that was a game monopoly but this is the real world now let me be clear coming from a state that has many big very stable and very good company's big by itself is not bad and our witnesses here today big certainly does not mean anti-competitive but when big means market dominance when big means there's not any innovation when big means that consumer prices aren't going down then it becomes an issue two-thirds of Americans have come to believe that the economy unfairly favors power powerful interests many have raised concerns about higher levels of market concentration across our economy and it has understandably led to calls for more vigorous antitrust enforcement so we are entering a watershed moment for antitrust it's a moment that's been driven by a number of factors first our economy is experiencing a wave of industry consolidation that shows no signs of slowing annual merger filings that the antitrust agencies have increased by more than 50 percent in the last five years more than 50 percent in the last five years second we are living in a time of rapid technological change that is reshaping our economy but also concentrating power in the hands of relatively few companies third the courts have become increasingly skeptical of antitrust enforcement continually raising the evidentiary bar for government enforcers and private plaintiffs Supreme Court cases like Trinko Twombly Legion and most recently Ohio the American Express have made enforcing our antitrust laws more challenging and potential changes to the makeup of the high court could even accelerate this trend it's the right moment to ask whether the antitrust laws are up to the task of protecting competition in today's economy and whether our laws still promote their fundamental purpose to promote competition and consumer welfare in this era of unprecedented change we can all recognize that the stakes are high and the American people increasingly understand the competition is critical for their welfare it means products and services that more of them are more affordable it means more innovation and it means more opportunities for new businesses and a more prosperous society an effective federal antitrust enforcement is key the FTC and the antitrust divisions must protect consumers from anti-competitive mergers and anti-competitive conduct despite the challenges that I just outlined and a number of challenges remain dramatic increase in both size and number of mergers I mentioned since 2008 American firms have engaged in more than 10 trillion in acquisitions and if you think things have been slowing down recently you would be wrong a record 2.5 trillion in mergers were announced in just the first half of this year these deals are part of a pattern of horizontal consolidation and vertical integration that is transforming many of our important industries and in some cases threatening competition and consumer welfare reviewing these increasingly complex mergers and challenging them when appropriate can stretch limited agency resources that's why I've introduced to antitrust bills focused on mergers the first the merger Enforcement Improvement Act renews the federal government's commitment to antitrust enforcement it would update merger filing fees for the first time since 2001 think of all the changes to our economy since 2001 especially in the internet space it would lower the burden on small and medium-sized businesses and ensuring that ensure that larger deals pay their fair share while also raising revenues it would also require parties and enter into merger consent decrees to provide post closing data to the agencies so they can determine if their remedies are actually protecting competition how many times have we heard consent decrees were reached but then after the fact many parties come to us to our offices and say you know this isn't really working so that's contained in there as well as increasing fees on some of the mega mergers in order to pay for people to be as sophisticated as companies that are making these mergers happen the second bill the consolidation prevention and competition promotion Act would restore the Clayton Act original purpose of promoting competition by updating our legal standards it strengthens the current legal standard to help stop harmful consolidation and codifies the structural presumption so that the parties involved in a deal that substantially increases market concentration have to prove that their merger does not harm competition we are also confronting the profound concerns regarding the conduct of dominant firms the most well publicized concerns relate to online platforms but as consolidation is taking place throughout our economy dominant companies in many industries are raising issues during this current merger wave we need to ensure that civil conduct cases receive appropriate attention some have complained that the u.s. enforcement agencies have not been sufficiently active in investigating dominant firm conduct particularly when compared with enforcers in Europe we need to determine the cause of the discrepancy and whether it is justified finally we need to keep working together to stop anti-competitive conduct when it comes to prescription drugs too many Americans are unable to pay their medical bills or are forced to skip doses because they simply can't afford it American consumers have every right to demand that anti-competitive activity does not artificially inflate the cost of prescription drugs we know that for the top 10 best-selling drugs in America I've seen a doubling of prices that's just wrong that is why chairman Grassley and I introduced our bill to make it easier to stop anti-competitive pay-for-delay patent settlements which cost consumers billions of dollars it's also why chairman Grassley and Senator Lee are chairman Leahy and Feinstein and many others have introduced a creates Act which was passed in this committee in June it would help put a stop to other pharmaceutical company tactics like refusing to provide samples for testing which can delay generic introduction for years as a former prosecutor I know how important to enforcers that are ready and willing to go to court when necessary to enforce the law I know that the two gentlemen before us are dedicated to this cause I know that you have staffs that are ready and willing to do this work and i truly appreciate that so I am hoping with some of the challenge that so that we all know that we share we can go forward together with the commitment of the administration and the two of you to move on these important issues as well as the Chairman so I thank you very much both of you for being here