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Klobuchar, Grassley Introduce Legislation to Ensure Antitrust Authorities Have the Resources They Need to Protect Consumers


Date: June 20, 2019
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, introduced new bipartisan legislation today to ensure that antitrust authorities have the resources they need to protect consumers. Premerger filing fees have not changed since 2001 despite the steady march of inflation, and the current fee structure places too heavy a burden on smaller deals and too small a fee on larger deals. The fee for a $900 million deal should not be the same as the fee for a $60 billion deal. And despite the massive increase in merger filings in the last five years and public calls for action to protect competition, funding for enforcement authorities has stagnated.

The Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act would update merger filing fees for the first time since 2001, lower the burden on small and medium-sized businesses, ensure larger deals bring in more income, and raise enough revenue so that taxpayer dollars aren't required to fund necessary increases to agency enforcement budgets. To ensure this legislation is a permanent solution to the outdated fee structure and not a one-time fix, the filing fees will be linked to increases in the Producer Price Index going forward.

"As our economy grows and the number of mergers filed increases, many of us have raised serious concerns about excessive market consolidation and its effects on competition and consumers. The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice are responsible for protecting consumers and competition, and we can all agree they need appropriate resources to get the job done. But their budgets have been held flat for years," Klobuchar said. "This new bipartisan legislation will update the merger filing fees for the first time in over a decade, ensuring that parties to larger mergers pay their fair share and consumers don't have to foot the bill for these necessary and long-overdue increases to antitrust agency enforcement budgets."

"Consumers depend on the FTC and Justice Department to vet proposed mergers and guard against anticompetitive practices. With major acquisitions on the rise, it's important that these government agencies have the resources needed to protect consumers and taxpayers. This bill improves fairness in the fee schedules for proposed mergers and ensures taxpayers aren't left footing the bill," Grassley said.