Democrats push for new antitrust probe into mergers

Liberal activists pressure Biden’s Justice Department for a new antitrust crackdown.

“I don’t see how a senator from a state like Indiana could support a deal when you’re from a state that has been hit so hard,” said Sen. Ben Sasse Ben Steven SasseSenate Democrats want Alabama Senate runoff to determine November winner Can Conservative Senate bid swing Arizona is headed for Democratic wipeout MORE (R-Neb.).


That criticism came on the same day a former Obama White House official, who worked on a new DOJ antitrust probe and was told by an Obama aide that there was “not much appetite among [lawmakers] to do it and not much interest at all to doing it,” said there was “no interest at all” from the Democratic Senate, according to the Times’ report.

But the White House’s former antitrust chief at the U.S. Justice Department said Biden is not alone in his push to crack down on mergers that give one company near total control over a market.

“It’s clear to me that they are looking at it from the point of view of one company taking market share, not giving it to the consumer,” White House antitrust chief Arthur Robinson told the Times, describing the probe as “not in any way a simple antitrust case.”

The current DOJ probe focuses on the merger of the companies that dominate the food and pharmaceutical industries. Those mergers have been in the cross-hairs of Democrats and antitrust experts for at least three years, but with the exception of a handful of senators, no member of the GOP has raised concerns with their own party.

Democrats, though, have been pushing a new antitrust investigation into those mergers, arguing that current DOJ probes have been toothless.

A spokesperson for Biden said the former vice president has “no comment on the Times report at this time,” and pointed to the fact that the White House did not respond to the report.

A spokesman for the White House said in a statement that the administration “will not tolerate any action that impedes competition, innovation or job creation.”

Biden has said he will make a decision on antitrust investigations within the week, but a senior Democrat in the Senate, who was briefed on the investigation, told the Times that “it is likely to come to the floor.”

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