September 20, 2022

Grassley Presses Justice Dept., FTC On Need For Vigorous Antitrust Enforcement In Ag, Prescription Drug Industries At Oversight Hearing

WASHINGTON – Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), today pushed Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Justice Department senior leadership to do more to promote competition and fairness in the agriculture and prescription drug industries during an oversight hearing on antitrust enforcement.
 
“For quite some time, I’ve been concerned about consolidation and anti-competitive behavior in several areas of the U.S economy, from agriculture, to health care, to technology. While big isn’t necessarily bad, big can facilitate a company’s ability to unfairly exert its market power. Further, large size and industry concentration can intensify a company’s predatory actions and adverse impacts on market participants and consumers,” Grassley said at the hearing.
 
Grassley has long been a champion of competition in the agriculture industry to boost market access for family farmers. He’s a lead author of the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act to ensure that the Big Four meat packers, who control more than 80 percent of the market, provide competitive markets to independent cattle producers. He’s also raised concerns about consolidation in the ag industry, and pushed for strong enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act.
 
As a part of Grassley’s ongoing push to reduce prescription drug prices for consumers, his bipartisan bill to ensure open markets for more affordable generic medication has become law. Most recently, his bill to empower the FTC to crack down on anticompetitive tactics by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) that lead to high prices has advanced through the Commerce Committee in the Senate.
 
Grassley is also leading a bipartisan, bicameral effort to hold big tech platforms accountable for prioritizing their own products over those of small businesses who rely on the platforms to reach consumers.
 
Grassley will continue to be a staunch advocate for fairness in the marketplace to empower small businesses, spur competition and promote greater affordability and choice for American consumers.  Grassley’s opening statement from today’s hearing and a video of his questions follow:
 
Prepared Statement by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)
Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee
Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights
Hearing on Oversight of Federal Enforcement of the Antitrust Laws
September 20, 2022
 
For quite some time, I’ve been concerned about consolidation and anti-competitive behavior in several areas of the U.S economy, from agriculture, to health care, to technology. While big isn’t necessarily bad, big can facilitate a company’s ability to unfairly exert its market power. Further, large size and industry concentration can intensify a company’s predatory actions and adverse impacts on market participants and consumers.
 
Vigilant and vigorous enforcement of the antitrust laws is important to ensure that markets are free and fair, and participants don’t engage in abusive behavior that harms consumers. The Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission have a crucial role in making sure that everyone is playing by the rules – that’s why I’m a lead cosponsor of the Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act to ensure that the antitrust agencies have adequate resources to do their job. There are a lot of dedicated staff at both agencies that do good work for the country. But I share the concerns just expressed by Senator Lee about the Federal Trade Commission’s low morale, management and partisanship problems, as well as both agencies’ push for radical antitrust policies.  These problems hamper the agencies’ ability to enforce the antitrust laws. Regular congressional oversight will help keep the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission accountable.
 

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