Biden expected to sign an executive order going after monopolies that goes BEYOND antitrust legislation
- Aides have drafted an order that would call on DOJ and the Federal Trade Commission to update guidance to be less permissive on mergers
- It isn’t final and hasn’t been presented to Biden, Politico reported
- Also eyeing agency directives aimed to boost competition
- Comes after Biden put anti-trust advocate on the FTC
- Move comes as Facebook’s value surpassed $1trillion Monday for the first time
Aides to President Joe Biden are crafting an executive order aimed at boosting competition and going after mega corporations that dominate key industries.
The order could come this week, although it has yet to be finalized or presented to the president, Politico reported, an indication that the substance of the order was still being floated.
A White House spokeswoman said no final decision on the president’s actions had been made, but pointed to Biden’s campaign statements on increasing competition and banning noncompete agreements that restrict actions by employees, as well as ‘protecting farmers from abusive practices.’
The move came Monday as Facebook’s value surpassed $1 trillion for the first time.
Aides to President Joe Biden are working on an executive order dealing with corporate mergers
Biden said during the campaign he would back legislation that would end most noncompete agreements other than those ‘that are absolutely necessary to protect a narrowly defined category of trade secrets.’
Although short of law, an order would direct agency actions, with language targeted at banks, airports, agriculture, and the communications industry. It would call on the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission to update guidance to be less permissive on mergers.
It would push those agencies to consider how their decisions would impact industry, Reuters reported.
The potential order comes amid a focus on the increasing reach of big tech firms like Facebook
The CVS acquisition of insurance company Aetna attracted the attention of regulators
The news came on a day Facebook’s market value topped $1 trillion for the first time
News of the order comes after Biden signaled an effort to crack down on mergers through the nomination of LIna Khan to head the FTC and Timothy Wu to join his White House staff
An order, should Biden sign one, would be the latest positioning against big corporations, including through staff and appointments and nominations, including installing Columbia University professor and antitrust advocate Lina Khan on the Federal Trade Commission.
As a staffer on a House Judiciary subcommittee, Khan helped write a report last year that promoted legislation to crack down on anti-competitive behavior. It dealt with major tech companies including Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Alphabet.
She also wrote an article in the Yale Law Journal article titled ‘Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox.’
‘Elements of the firm’s structure and conduct pose anticompetitive concerns—yet it has escaped antitrust scrutiny,’ she wrote.
Biden also brought on Timothy Wu to join his National Economic Council. Wu, who taught at Columbia, served on the FTC and worked for the New York Attorney General, wrote the book The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age.
It comes as Biden has called to hike corporate taxes as a way to fund his ‘human infrastructure’ package.
A federal judge Monday dismissed a complaint brought by the the FTC and state attorneys general labeling the social media giant Facebook a monopoly, calling the suits ‘legally insufficient.’