WASHINGTON, June 8 - The US Senate passed a bill on Tuesday that would increase the fees that companies with the biggest mergers pay Government Antitrust Agencies and give agencies bigger budgets.
The bill - co-sponsored by Democrat Chuck Grassley, the top antitrust senator and Amy Klobuchar, the first Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee - would lower the fee for smaller mergers under $161.5 million from $45,000 to $30,000. But the fee would increase from $280 million to $5.3 billion for deals worth more or more.
Now that my bill with Senator Klobuchar passed the Senate, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission are one step closer to having additional resources to conduct rigorous reviews of large mergers, said Grassley in a statement.
The antitrust measure was included in a Senate package that aimed at boosting the country's ability to compete with Chinese technology. The bill must be submitted to the White House for President Joe Biden to read to parliament.
The Federal Trade Commission and the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department assess mergers to ensure that they comply with antitrust law.
The measure will increase the number of authorizations to each, giving the FTC a budget of $418 million, while the Antitrust Division would receive $252 million.
Under a budget proposed by the administration of Biden, the FTC would receive $389.8 million for the next fiscal year. This year, that number is going to increase from $351 million or about 11%. Under Biden's plan, likewise, the Antitrust Division would see its budget increase from $185 million to $201 million, an increase of 8.6%.
In a statement Grassley said that the current system of evaluating mergers and working to stop anti-competitive practices was outdated and not getting the job done.
I'm glad that my colleagues in the Senate recognize this issue and support it today, he said. What should we do about the emergency?