Today, Congressman Joe Neguse, Vice-Chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law, secured House passage of his bipartisan legislation to ensure antitrust authorities have the necessary resources to protect consumers. 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, and raise enough revenue so that taxpayer dollars aren't required to fund necessary increases to agency enforcement budgets. To make certain this legislation is a permanent solution to the outdated fee structure and not a one-time fix, the filing fees will be linked to increases in the Producer Price Index going forward.
The bill is also sponsored by Representative Ken Buck (R-CO) and is led by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in the U.S. Senate.
"By strengthening antitrust enforcement and ensuring that corporate parties to larger mergers pay their fair share and consumers don't have to foot the bill, Congress is preventing anti-competition tactics that harm American consumers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses. I am proud to see my colleagues take action to move our bipartisan bill forward and will continue to push for its passage in the Senate," said Congressman Joe Neguse.
Premerger filing fees have not changed since 2001, 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 that 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:
Gives resources to antitrust enforcers to protect consumers and competition;
Reduces filing fees on small transactions;
And supports antitrust enforcement agencies desperately in need of additional resources.
Read the bill text HERE.
Through his role on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law, Congressman Neguse has played a leading role in advocating for proper antitrust enforcement. As part of the Subcommittee's investigation into anti-competitive behaviors in the digital marketplace, Congressman Neguse brought the Committee to Boulder, Colorado, for a field hearing in January 2019. In the 116th Congress, Neguse introduced and enacted two antitrust enforcement measures into law, protecting antitrust whistleblowers and reauthorizing a critical antitrust enforcement program. Following the conclusion of the Subcommittee's big tech investigation, Congressman Neguse has called for a similar investigation into Big Pharma, in particular an examination of the FTC's oversight of mergers for the pharmaceutical industry. Additionally, as the COVID-19 pandemic has brought resounding economic impacts, Congressman Neguse has also led efforts in Congress to crack down on price gouging and predatory tactics.