WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, issued the following statement after nine states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit to block the T-Mobile US, Inc. (T-Mobile) and Sprint Corporation (Sprint) merger.
“I have repeatedly raised serious antitrust concerns about the harmful effects of merging T-Mobile and Sprint, two of the four remaining nationwide wireless carriers. This merger would harm competition and consumers, and I am pleased that action is being taken by state attorneys general to block it. Now, the Justice Department must take similar action to stop this transaction.”
Klobuchar has championed efforts to protect consumers, promote competition, and fight consolidation in several industries including the agriculture, telecommunications, and pharmaceutical industries. Earlier this month, she and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) led a letter to Department of Justice (DOJ) Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim on potential political interference in the T-Mobile/Sprint merger investigations. Klobuchar has also called for strong antitrust review and enforcement to protect consumers from mergers that raise prices or harm competition, including Comcast/Time Warner Cable, AT&T/Time Warner Inc., and Anheuser-Busch/Miller-Coors, and consolidation in the agricultural industry and the online travel industry. She has also led the call to protect the independence and integrity of the antitrust enforcement agencies from political interference by the Trump administration.
In January, Klobuchar introduced the Consolidation Prevention and Competition Promotion Act to 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 Blumenthal and Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
Klobuchar also introduced the Merger Enforcement Improvement Act to give antitrust enforcement agencies adequate tools and resources to address the threat of economic concentration, promote competition, and protect consumers. The bill would update merger filing fees for the first time since 2001, lowering the burden on small- and medium-sized businesses, and ensuring that larger deals pay their fair share while also raising revenues. It would also provide agencies with better information post-merger to ensure that merger enforcement is meeting its goals. The bill is cosponsored by Markey, Blumenthal, Booker, Gillibrand and Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Angus King (I-VT), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT).