Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act of 2022

Floor Speech

Date: Sept. 29, 2022
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. JOHNSON of Louisiana. Mr. Speaker, we are deeply concerned about this for the reasons that are stated.

There are a lot of people who are confused about it because what they have done here is they have taken three pieces of legislation, three titles, and merged them into one.

I don't have a problem with two of the three. In response to Ms. Lofgren, I think that antitrust enforcement provision is okay because currently it is not explained what the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation can transfer are State AGs' antitrust cases that arise under Federal laws to other jurisdictions. That title would prevent that from happening. We are okay with that. I voted for that in committee.

But one of the other titles here is the disclosure of subsidies by foreign adversaries. We didn't get any regular order on that. We didn't get to actually debate that, mark it up in committee. The substance of that one is okay because it would require parties to notify when they receive subsidies from countries that are threats to the U.S. when filing a merger. We all agree on that.

The problem is, the thing we are so concerned about, is what Ranking Member Jordan has just talked about, the Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act.

For folks who are trying to follow this back home, this would change filing fees paid by companies seeking regulatory approval for mergers. It would reduce the fees for deals valued under $1 billion, and it would raise them for the larger mergers, over $1 billion.

Now, here is the problem. All of this sounds fine so far, but here is the problem. There are no restrictions on the use of the additional funding that is generated by these fees. And the FTC and the DOJ will have even more power to institute their bad policies. This is not a de minimus amount. We are talking about $1.5 billion over 5 years. That is a lot of money.

Just so you know, since President Biden took office, the FTC has pursued radical goals beyond its jurisdiction. One Commissioner said she supports prioritizing FTC investigations relating to systematic racism and rulemaking for racist practices. These are very amorphous terms. They have been abused and used for all sorts of nefarious purposes.

Republican Commissioner Wilson described Democrat goals as rooted in ``a unified worldview that draws heavily on . . . Marxism.'' That is at the FTC.

Some of the actions of the Chair, Lina Khan, are just outrageous, what she has done.

The DOJ, of course, has indeed been weaponized. We have been talking about that in committee. We have been laying out the evidence, and we will be presenting that to the American people in the new Congress that begins in January.

If what the chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, Mr. Nadler, said is true, that they are ``in desperate need of more resources,'' maybe they could have not spent money and resources by siccing the FBI and all the U.S. Attorney's Offices on parents who are going to school board meetings to object to curriculum that their kids are being exposed to and mandates, school closures, and all the rest.

This is outrageous. These institutions have been weaponized, and the people are losing their faith in them. We cannot, in good conscience, stand on this floor and send them $1.5 billion to engage in more of this madness.

We have no choice but to oppose the legislation for that reason, and I think it is a good one. I think most of our colleagues are going to agree.