Progressive activists are trying to hijack the lame-duck session of Congress in an effort to give the Biden administration more money and power.
Before Democrats lose control of the House of Representatives, there is a very real danger that Congress could authorize hundreds of millions in additional resources to the ultra-woke Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice Antitrust Division. No Republican should vote to shovel even more money their way, especially when bureaucrats will use the funds to pursue a woke agenda.
Now is not the time to give the FTC, which is currently run by an activist hostile to American business, additional funding to micromanage the U.S. economy. The “Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act” (H.R. 3843), legislation that passed the House in late September, increases merger fees for certain transactions above a government-determined size.
Some have claimed that the bill will not lead to more money for the FTC or Department of Justice because it does not increase appropriations for those agencies. While this is technically true, it is only half the story. The fees will go to the Treasury Department, which Democrats will then steer back to the FTC and DOJ. As a whole, the bill would shovel hundreds of millions of dollars to the Biden FTC and DOJ.
Empowering the woke FTC should set off alarm bells for all Republicans. While it is easy to dismiss the FTC as part of Washington’s vast “alphabet soup” of agencies, the FTC has the power to regulate the entire economy. Every business, from mom-and-pop corner stores to multinational corporations, are in the FTC’s scope of authority.
Khan and her allies have used all the resources at their disposal to expand the FTC’s power. Khan has jettisoned the consumer welfare standard, which has long focused the FTC on protecting consumers from harm in antitrust enforcement. Khan ripped up the vertical merger guidelines that provided businesses with clarity over how the FTC would consider mergers and acquisitions, a driver of economic growth and innovation.
Khan’s ultimate mission is to put every company in a “Mother-May-I” relationship with the federal government. In a recent keynote address to far-left groups, FTC Chair Lina Khan grumbled that the government does not do enough to shape “economic outcomes” and attacked the free market as a “product of metaphysical forces.” Khan proposed a “paradigm shift” that would allow antitrust to direct specific economic outcomes via government and legal “intervention.”
Khan’s progressive colleague, Commissioner Rebecca Slaughter, recently called for an “equity-focused lens in antitrust enforcement” and advocated the use of antitrust law to “make our nation and economy more equitable.”
Instead of protecting consumers, Khan and Slaughter want to use antitrust law to browbeat companies into pushing woke social goals. If the Left believes a company is not doing enough to address income inequality or “climate justice,” Khan will use antitrust law to force companies to go woke or go broke.
To get H.R. 3843 through the House, supporters claimed that it was a vote to rein in Big Tech. Nothing in this bill will stop or even limit Big Tech’s consistent targeting of conservative speech online. As Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) has repeatedly pointed out, giving unelected Biden bureaucrats even more power and resources will not end well for conservatives.
Progressives will likely agitate for a Senate vote on the “Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act” and other assorted antitrust bills before the lame duck session expires in December. Conservatives understand that antitrust legislation is a Trojan horse for expanding the size and scope of the federal government. No Republican should vote for a bill that would help the Biden administration pursue its woke agenda, especially when Republicans will have more leverage with a House majority in the 118th Congress.