May 13, 2021

Grassley, Klobuchar Bill to Ensure Antitrust Authorities Have Resources to Protect Consumers Unanimously Passes out of Committee

The Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act would update merger filing fees for the first time since 2001, lower the burden on small and medium-sized businesses, ensure fees reflect the size of each deal, and raise enough revenue to increase agency enforcement resources without making taxpayers foot the bill

WASHINGTON – Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) recently introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure that antitrust authorities have the resources they need to protect consumers. The Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act unanimously passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee today.
 
“Consumers depend on the FTC and Justice Department to vet proposed mergers and guard against anticompetitive practices. It’s important that these government agencies have the resources needed to protect consumers and taxpayers. Unfortunately, our outdated system is not getting the job done and ultimately hurts small and medium sized businesses,” Grassley said. “I’m proud to co-author this bipartisan bill, which will improve fairness in the fee schedules for proposed mergers and strengthen the ability of these agencies to challenge anticompetitive transactions. The committee vote today brings it one step closer to becoming law.”
 
Premerger filing fees have not changed since 2001 despite the steady march of inflation, and the current fee structure places too heavy a burden on smaller deals and too small a fee on larger deals. The fee for a $900 million deal should not be the same as the fee for a $60 billion deal. And despite the massive increase in merger filings in the last five years and public calls for action to protect competition, funding for enforcement authorities has stagnated.
 

The Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act would update merger filing fees for the first time since 2001, lower the burden on small and medium-sized businesses, ensure larger deals bring in more income and raise enough revenue so that taxpayer dollars aren’t required to fund necessary increases to agency enforcement budgets. To ensure this legislation is a permanent solution to the outdated fee structure and not a one-time fix, the filing fees will be linked to increases in the Producer Price Index going forward.