Rep. Ellison Introduces Merger Retrospective Act
WASHINGTON—Reps. Keith Ellison (D-MN), David Cicilline (D-RI), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Rick Nolan (D-MN), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) this morning introduced the Merger Retrospective Act to curb the harmful effects of corporate monopolization on working people. Rep. Ellison’s bill attempts to illuminate the impact of corporate mergers on the American economy by directing the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) to assess each merger’s effect on price, quality, and availability of products and services at the merged firm, as well as employment reduction and worker compensation.
“When big companies merge, workers can be laid off in the thousands, prices can go up, and quality can go down for goods and services at the new firm. Decades of lax merger review and antitrust enforcement have helped bring us to a new Gilded Age, where inequality is higher than ever, and a handful of massive corporations control outsized wealth and political power at the expense of the rest of us. This legislation is aimed at reversing a decades-long trend toward concentrating power in our economy.” said Rep. Keith Ellison.
“The American people deserve the truth about how mergers affect workers’ wages, layoffs, and lawsuits,” said Rep. Rick Nolan, co-chair of the House Antitrust Caucus. “This legislation is an important step forward towards ensuring transparency in the corporate sector and developing a worker-first approach to American business.”
“You don’t have to be a PHD economist to understand that increasing levels of corporate concentration are bad for Americans. When airlines and telecom firms merge, they enrich a handful of executives at a cost of lost jobs, stagnant wages, and reduced service for customers. Monopoly power in big business has been a major cause of income inequality and the hollowing out of the middle class. The Merger Retrospective Act is an important first step towards understanding the true cost of corporate consolidation,” said Rep. Ro Khanna, co-chair of the House Antitrust Caucus.
“Congressman Ellison’s bill is an important step towards improving the effectiveness and transparency of merger policy. It would have the agencies regularly evaluate the effects of their merger enforcement actions on prices and other outcomes. They would then report on those effects as well as on their overall enforcement record. This will help make merger policy better targeted, which will be better for consumers, better for businesses, and better for the agencies as well,” said John E. Kwoka, renowned antitrust economist and the author of Mergers, Merger Control and Remedies.
“This bill aims to provide Americans with basic information they need to better understand our nation’s monopoly problem, and the political and economic dangers posed by concentration of power over our nation’s markets. In doing so, the bill restores a fundamental right to collect information that will empower enforcers to do a better job of protecting opportunity and democracy in America today, and empower citizens and Congress to do a better job of holding those enforcers accountable,” said Barry Lynn, director of Open Markets Institute.