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The national debt is nearing $35 trillion, yet President Joe Biden’s bureaucrats are swarming Capitol Hill looking to gobble up even more of your tax dollars to enact the Bidenomics agenda. 

On Wednesday, Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan demanded a 25 percent budget increase at a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing, giving Khan a total budget of $535 million for FY 2025. 

Throughout the hearing, Republican lawmakers were skeptical that Khan’s FTC deserves a penny more in taxpayer dollars than the $425.7 million the agency received in FY 2024. 

Here are three takeaways from the hearing

  1. Lawmakers Expressed Doubt That Khan’s FTC Needs More Money

In his opening statement, Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Chairman David Joyce (R-Ohio) said that it would be “difficult to support” an increase in the FTC’s budget, noting that Khan’s mismanagement of the agency has caused concern among “many members of Congress and the public, including individuals, families, and businesses” in Joyce’s home district. Joyce also highlighted the FTC’s regulatory overreach in several areas, and pointed to plummeting FTC staff morale under the Khan regime. 

FSGG Republicans echoed Joyce’s skepticism that the FTC deserved more taxpayer dollars. Rep. Chuck Edwards (R-N.C.) said, “I’m quite honestly shocked that there is any government agency out there right now asking for a 25 percent increase in their budget from last year. Just plain and simple, this government cannot afford it.

  1. Lawmakers Oppose Khan’s Anti-Merger Crusade 

Throughout the hearing, lawmakers took Khan to task for her anti-merger agenda. Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.) pressed Khan on her “sue first, ask questions later” approach to merger policy, noting that Khan came up through academia and has a long history of reflexively opposing mergers. Khan refused to answer if she believed any merger was good for the economy. 

Joyce also pressed Khan about the effects of her anti-merger agenda. After Khan noted that her FTC has launched the most antitrust enforcement actions in more than two decades, Joyce asked Khan if she worried about her agenda’s chilling effect on economic activity. Once again, Khan refused to answer if she believed mergers and acquisitions generally benefit consumers or the economy. 

  1. Lawmakers Pressed Khan on FTC Collusion with Foreign Bureaucrats 

Several FSGG Republicans raised alarm bells about the FTC’s coordination with foreign regulators to undermine American companies. For background, the FTC and Department of Justice sent staff over to Brussels to assist with implementation of the “Digital Markets Act,” protectionist legislation designed to tax and regulate American companies. 

Rep. John Moolenaar (R-Mich.) pressed Khan on her decision to send staff over to Europe and asked if she considered those efforts beneficial to foreign competitors. Stunningly, Khan refused to answer whether or not she dispatched staff to help implement the DMA, despite an FTC press release announcing the program in 2023. To this day, Khan has not revealed to Congress how much it costs to send a staffer to Europe, the scope of her staff’s work abroad, or why it is necessary to physically send staff to Brussels when Khan runs the agency remotely from New York City.

Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa) questioned Khan on a different issue, raising a new report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce showing that FTC officials and left-wing groups were involved in USTR’s decision to withdraw longstanding support for digital trade rules at the World Trade Organization. Khan feigned ignorance of the report, leaning once again on the falsehood that Khan is only focused on competition issues in the U.S. despite mounting evidence to the contrary. 

ATR’s View

Khan does not deserve a nickel in additional funding – if anything, Congress should slash the FTC’s budget. 

Since Khan’s bait-and-switch confirmation in 2021, she has led the Biden administration’s mission to expand government control over the economy. Khan has wasted countless taxpayer dollars pursuing antitrust cases that fail in court. Khan’s various rulemakings, like her ban on non-compete agreements, are blatant end-runs around Congress that will likely fail in court. House and Senate lawmakers are actively probing Khan’s FTC for mistreatment of staff, employment of left-wing unpaid consultants, collusion with foreign regulators, and other abuses of power. 

Instead of rewarding a highly dysfunctional agency with even more taxpayer money, Congress should continue to rein in the FTC.