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house Bill H.R. 2745

Will Standardized Anti-trust Laws Help Prevent Monopolies in the Private Sector?

Argument in favor

The Federal Trade Commission and Dept. of Justice will be more effective at reviewing proposed mergers and acquisitions for antitrust violations if they use the same procedures with similar standards.

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03/19/2016
Monopolies have been a blight upon our culture since the Gilded Age and must be eliminated. They undercut all other companies, more importantly our small businesses, and will do more to hurt our overall economic health than any other form of business (except possibly oligarchies and mercantilist businesses).
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John's Opinion
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03/22/2016
The problem with the current anti trust laws they only protect the big companies from having a bigger competitor. The idea of having these laws is to have competition that benefits the consumer. I along with hundreds of millions of Americans really have no real choice for my water supply, my electric, cable, Internet, natural gas and probably many more utilities.
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Steven's Opinion
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03/19/2016
There are monopolies that exist right now that need to be investigated "Con-Edison" comes to mind, that probably slip through the cracks because of disparities in rules between competing organizations. One clear set of rules seems logical to me. I had to re-examine my opinion here. Turns out this bill would result in a looser overall standard as opposed to a more stringent one.
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Argument opposed

There’s no need to standardize procedures used by the FTC and DOJ in reviews to determine if a merger or acquisition weakens competition or creates a monopoly.

Chris's Opinion
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03/22/2016
Be careful, I fear this may be another wolf in Sheep clothing. This bill may limit the FTC ability to limit Monopolies. The sponsors of this resolution have shown no signs over their careers of favoring consumer protections or restrictions upon business. Words like streamline or standardize are often codewords for tying the hands of Federal Agencies.
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operaman's Opinion
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03/21/2016
This big smiling caricature represents how big Government feels about antitrust laws. Laws meant to enhance government powers and coffers with fees as they march to the beat of big brother government.
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BTSundra's Opinion
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03/22/2016
Let the market sort this kind of thing out for itself.
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What is House Bill H.R. 2745?

This bill would standardize procedures used by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) when reviewing proposed mergers or acquisitions that may lessen competition or lead to monopolies. Both the FTC and DOJ are responsible for enforcing antitrust laws, but the way they exercise that authority under current law is different.

Specifically, this bill would harmonize the standard each agency must meet before a federal court can issue a preliminary injunction against a proposed merger or acquisition. It also directs the FTC to resolve contested mergers or acquisitions through a federal court rather than through administrative litigation.

Impact

Businesses involved in a proposed merger or acquisition; the Federal Trade Commission; and the Dept. of Justice.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2745

$0.00
The CBO estimates that implementing this legislation would not increase spending.

More Information

In-Depth: Several members of the House Judiciary Committee, including Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA), and sponsoring Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) released a joint statement on this bill’s introduction:

“Under existing law, the rules for reviewing a merger or acquisition differ depending on whether the FTC or the Justice Department reviews the merger… One of the responsibilities of the Judiciary Committee is to ensure fairness and consistency in the enforcement of our nation’s antitrust laws. We plan to soon reintroduce the SMARTER Act to permanently reduce the disparities in the merger review process and ensure that companies face the same standards and processes regardless of whether the FTC or Justice Department reviews the merger.”

This legislation was passed by the House Judiciary Committee on a vote of 18-10, and it currently enjoys the support of five Republican cosponsors.



Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flicker user Christopher Dombres)

AKA

Standard Merger and Acquisition Reviews Through Equal Rules Act of 2015

Official Title

To amend the Clayton Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act to provide that the Federal Trade Commission shall exercise authority with respect to mergers only under the Clayton Act and only in the same procedural manner as the Attorney General exercises such authority.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
  • The house Passed March 23rd, 2016
    Roll Call Vote 235 Yea / 171 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law
    IntroducedJune 12th, 2015

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    Monopolies have been a blight upon our culture since the Gilded Age and must be eliminated. They undercut all other companies, more importantly our small businesses, and will do more to hurt our overall economic health than any other form of business (except possibly oligarchies and mercantilist businesses).
    Like (18)
    Follow
    Share
    Be careful, I fear this may be another wolf in Sheep clothing. This bill may limit the FTC ability to limit Monopolies. The sponsors of this resolution have shown no signs over their careers of favoring consumer protections or restrictions upon business. Words like streamline or standardize are often codewords for tying the hands of Federal Agencies.
    Like (20)
    Follow
    Share
    The problem with the current anti trust laws they only protect the big companies from having a bigger competitor. The idea of having these laws is to have competition that benefits the consumer. I along with hundreds of millions of Americans really have no real choice for my water supply, my electric, cable, Internet, natural gas and probably many more utilities.
    Like (15)
    Follow
    Share
    There are monopolies that exist right now that need to be investigated "Con-Edison" comes to mind, that probably slip through the cracks because of disparities in rules between competing organizations. One clear set of rules seems logical to me. I had to re-examine my opinion here. Turns out this bill would result in a looser overall standard as opposed to a more stringent one.
    Like (9)
    Follow
    Share
    Let the market sort this kind of thing out for itself.
    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
    This big smiling caricature represents how big Government feels about antitrust laws. Laws meant to enhance government powers and coffers with fees as they march to the beat of big brother government.
    Like (6)
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    Share
    My hope is that this may put oligopolies in check too. The landscape for broadband is pathetic. (read comcast/time warner) They have no competitors.
    Like (4)
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    The Sherman Anti-Trust Act is not enough to regulate the influence of trusts.
    Like (4)
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    However, a bigger question is the monopoly that the federal government has become. We need to stop D.C. creatures from inserting themselves into every aspect of our society and to reverse federal government's: (1) intrusion into health care choices and the low, low, low standard of health care that government will cover and permit for U.S. citizens; (2) manipulating and controlling our personal investments and access to OUR money that WE SAVED for OUR future needs; (3) invasion of OUR children's education and academic standards that the federal government relentlessly wants to regulate and to decrease at every turn; (4) brainwashing in public schools; (5) anti-Constitution legislation and White House mandates that take away our rights that are CLEARLY STATED in that document; and (6) inane opinion that Social Security is a taxable "gift" bestowed upon us, as if we are not forced to pay into it (the only people to whom SS is a gift are those who never paid into it and still get -- against the original intent according to FDR -- benefits). We need to end the stranglehold that arrogant, hypocritical, smug, money- and power-mad members of Congress, bureaucrats, and White House residents hold over us by reversing all legislation passed that impedes U.S. citizens' rights to self-determination. Our Founding Fathers fought to end a domineering government, and voters in this country have re-established another one.
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    We need to keep businesses free from monopolies and give everyone a fair shot no matter where they are.
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    If it wouldn't break up Comcast's ISP monopoly, then it's not doing enough...
    Like (3)
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    Just another way the government is trying to control the private sector.
    Like (2)
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    Having a standardized set of regulations will help the government recognize and address the formation of monopolies. However, each case will always be different and standardization still needs to leave room for discretion.
    Like (2)
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    I'd like to put it all in the FTCs hands and get DOJ out of it.
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    The FTC and DOJ ultimately review monopolies/collusion for slightly different reasons, and with that in mind, this makes very litte sense.
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    Sounds like a good, simple idea. Note: this is one of the few things market CANNOT naturally sort out themselves. Even conservative economists recognize the need to limit market power.
    Like (2)
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    Antitrust laws were put in place for a reason, and preventing monopolies is paramount to the success of American businesses and democracy. Allowing two government entities to do their jobs more effectively will help our economy and make it easier for local, small businesses to thrive.
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    Independent business is the back bone of our local economies. Restricting any monopoly activity is good. Free and open competition is good for everyone.
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    Let's not give the government more power that can be bought by big players in the market to stifle competition from smaller companies. The only thing that more government regulation creates is more cronyism and less of a free market.
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    This is more regulation, and standardizations prevent people from exercising their judgement effectively.
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