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Congressional Antitrust Oversight Must Benefit Consumers, Competition

Oct. 3, 2018

Congressional Antitrust Oversight Must Benefit Consumers, Competition

Statement of Lisa Gilbert, Vice President of Legislative Affairs, Public Citizen

Note: Today, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights held a hearing on Oversight of the Enforcement of Antitrust Laws.

Increasing corporate concentration and decreasing competition are threatening consumers and our democracy. We need not only strong enforcement of existing antitrust laws, but also recognition of where those laws are failing to meet the needs of the time. Standards imposed through litigation alone have many drawbacks, including that they are difficult to apply broadly and leave those unable to bring costly lawsuits out of the equation.

It is not enough to protect consumers from anticompetitive behavior, we must also restore their power in antitrust decision-making. Too often enforcement decisions are data-intensive and technocratic, or based on litigation between powerful corporations, and do not take into account the needs of consumers navigating our marketplaces. Relying only on those voices leaves out vital evidence about the way our economy is working on the ground.

We support the Federal Trade Commission taking the initiative to investigate whether rulemaking on competitiveness could bring more clarity to this area, and we’ll be watching closely to ensure that the steps it takes meet our modern needs.