Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Republican Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado both agree that the timing is right for antitrust reform in the United States, and they say Congress needs to do its part to ensure that U.S. laws are, as Klobuchar said, “as sophisticated as the companies that are dominating this marketplace.”
Klobuchar — chair of the Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights — was a keynote speaker Wednesday at the ABA’s 69th Antitrust Law Spring Meeting, being held online March 23-26. Buck, the ranking member on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law, addressed the conference on Thursday.
In February, Klobuchar introduced the “Competition and Antitrust Law Enforcement Act” legislative effort to revamp current antitrust laws and strengthen enforcement.
“I believe in healthy capitalism, but that is not what’s happening right now. And we need to rejuvenate capitalism by having that balance of antitrust laws and making sure they are enforced,” Klobuchar said.
Buck, along with several Republican subcommittee members, in October issued a report in the House called “The Third Way: Antitrust Enforcement in Big Tech,” which concurred with findings of the Majority Staff Report and included potential remedies.
“There are five Big Tech platforms that are monopolies, and they are crushing competition and acting in borderline illegal ways,” Buck said. “Americans are fed up with the censorship and with the intrusion into our lives for business purposes. I think it is time that Congress acts and that we assert our authority and move forward.”
Both say passing meaningful antitrust legislation will take bipartisan support.
“Focusing on the five high-tech giants is the highest priority in the House and it’s a priority in the Senate,’’ Buck said. “I think you are going to see legislation that both the House and Senate and both Republicans and Democrats agree to.”
The Spring Meeting offers more than 30 programs and features top antitrust law enforcement and regulatory officials from the new Biden administration along with leading international enforcement officials. Attending the conference are 1,700 government enforcement officials, private attorneys, in-house corporate counsel, academics, judges, economists and businesspeople from 33 countries.
Notable programs include:
- “Enforcers Roundtable,” Friday, March 26 from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. ET. Sarah Oxenham Allen, chair of the National Association of Attorneys General Multistate Antitrust Task Force; Sarah Court, commissioner, Australian Competition & Consumer Commission; Richard A. Powers, acting assistant attorney general, Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, Washington, D.C.; Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, acting chair, FTC, Washington, D.C.; and Margrethe Vestager, executive vice president and commissioner, European Commission, Brussels will discuss enforcement priorities, transactions, investigations and cases that are making headlines.