Klobuchar Statement on AT&T -- Time Warner Merger Ruling
U. S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition, Policy and Consumer Rights, released the following statement on the AT&T -- Time Warner merger ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon.
"Allowing this merger to proceed raises serious concerns for consumers and the future of American media, and also sends a troubling signal to others that it's open season for vertical mergers that could allow a company to raise the cost of essential products and services that its rivals need to compete, leading to higher costs for consumers and less innovation. I urge the Justice Department to take swift action to appeal this judgment to ensure that competition and consumers are protected."
Ahead of today's announcement, Klobuchar expressed concerns about reports that AT&T made payments to the President's personal lawyer and urged the Department of Justice to oppose attempts to interfere with antitrust law enforcement actions. Klobuchar and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition, Policy and Consumer Rights, wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions in February of 2017 outlining their antitrust concerns on the proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner, Inc. They held a Subcommittee hearing on the subject in December 2016.
As Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, Klobuchar has championed efforts to protect consumers, promote competition, and fight consolidation in several industries including the agriculture, telecommunications, and pharmaceutical industry. She has led the fight against anticompetitive conduct in the pharmaceutical industry that increase prescription drug prices, including authoring multiple pieces of legislation such as the Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act to prevent abusive tactics that prevent affordable drugs from entering the market and the bipartisan Preserve Access to Affordable Generics Act to crack down on anti-competitive pay-offs in which branded companies pay their generic competitors not to compete as part of a patent settlement. She has called for strong antitrust review and enforcement to protect consumers from mergers that raise prices or harm competition, including the Comcast-Time Warner Cable, 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 administration.