Top Democrats Unveil Ambitious Antitrust Agenda

Congressional Democrats July 24 unveiled an ambitious antitrust agenda that takes aim at big corporations and signals what tack the party would take should Democrats capture either the House or the Senate in the midterm elections.

Companies proposing blockbuster mergers would need to establish the benefits of the deal in order to incentivize companies to be “better corporate citizens” under the plan rolled out by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) at a rally in Berryville, Va. Large mergers that would harm consumers, workers, and competition via higher prices and lower wages should be blocked, says the antitrust plan part of Democrats’ new economic agenda.

James Cooper, a law professor at George Mason University, told Bloomberg BNA that Democrats would likely find it difficult to implement their plan without a large scale revamping of the antitrust laws. Congress may need to amend the Sherman and Clayton Acts to include consideration of how mergers would affect wages and jobs, factors beyond the traditional analysis that focuses on price and quality outputs.

Nevertheless, the proposals show the extent to which “the mainstream of the party has embraced antitrust in the leadership in a way it hasn’t in decades,” said Seth Bloom, an antitrust attorney at Bloom Strategic Counsel LLC in Washington. “It’s a long term game. Now the Democrats have put down a marker that this is what they want to see,” said Bloom, former general counsel for the Senate Judiciary antitrust subcommittee.

Read more of this Bloomberg BNA article by Liz Crampton by clicking here.

Photo: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite