Corrupt Conservatives Still Favor Monopolies Over The American People

Louie Gohmert led the GOP against the anti-trust bill-- and failed

Rushing to end their legislative business before leaving DC for the midterm campaigns, Congress passed a slew of bills yesterday. I want to point out one: Joe Neguse’s Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act (H.R. 3843), which passed with a healthy bipartisan majority, 242-184. Biden supports the bill so if it passes the Senate he will sign it and it will make it easier for state officials to bring antitrust cases, as well as help boost funding to the Antitrust Division, which has fewer staff currently than it had in 1979. Neguse included 3 components to the legislation:

  1. Merger Filing Fee Increases: Mergers and acquisitions have increased in the American economy. The parties to a merger over a certain size pay a nominal fee to the agencies when they seek merger review and this will remain the case after the Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act. The current fee structure is outdated; it has not kept pace with the growth of the economy or with inflation. The number of mergers has skyrocketed: notifications doubled from 2010 to 2020. The bipartisan, bicameral Merger Filing Fees Modernization Act would lower fees for the smallest mergers. Fees would be raised on only the very largest mergers or acquisitions involving companies that can easily and equitably pay the increase. The bill also indexes the fees to inflation. The CBO says that this bill saves the government $1.4 billion, which can be appropriated to the antitrust agencies if Congress so chooses. (The Antitrust Division has fewer employees than it did in 1979.)

  2. Disclosure of Subsidies by Foreign Adversaries: This will require merger notification filings to include information about any subsidies the merging parties have received from countries or entities that are “strategic or economic threats to the United States.”

  3. Venue for State Antitrust Enforcement: This bill would give state attorneys general the same ability that federal antitrust enforcers have to stay in the court of their choosing when bringing a federal antitrust suit rather than have a defendant seek to move a case to a more favorable venue. 52 state attorneys general support this provision

It’s a progressive piece of legislation but as conservative an outfit as the Heritage Foundation’s Tech Policy Center backed it as well. Before the vote Jack Denton wrote that “For too long, Big Tech companies have abused the government’s anemic enforcement of antitrust law to kill competition, cozy up to hostile foreign actors, and consolidate power at the expense of the American consumer and citizen. A three-part antitrust bill that heads to Congress for a vote this week can help provide a fix.” He wrote that the bill is a necessary first step to enforce the law, contend with our adversaries in the national security arena, and delineate more power to the states. Conservatives should be first in line to support it… For too long, Big Tech companies have collaborated with hostile regimes or turned a blind eye to their influence. A proposal like this could help deter similar practices by these and other companies by adding a layer of oversight. Even if merging firms are ignorant of the national security implications of their business transactions, such a requirement could alert them to the risks involved and possibly forestall instances of intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers common when U.S. tech companies deal with foreign adversaries like China.” 39 Republicans crossed the aisle and voted with the Democrats in favor but 16 primarily corrupt conservative Democrats crossed in the other direction. The Democrats who voted against this anti-trust measure were:

  • Peter Aguilar (New Dem/coke freak-CA)

  • Nanette Barragán (D-CA)

  • Ami Bera (New Dem-CA)

  • Tony Cárdenas (New Dem-CA)

  • Jim Cooper (Blue Dog-TN)

  • Lou Correa (Blue Dog-CA)

  • Lizzy Fletcher (New Dem-TX)

  • Jim Himes (New Dem-CT)

  • Chrissy Houlahan (New Dem-PA)

  • Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)

  • Stephanie Murphy (Blue Dog-FL)

  • Jimmy Panetta (New Dem-CA)

  • Scott Peters (New Dem-CA)

  • Eric Swalwell (D-CA)

  • Norma Torres (New Dem-CA)

  • Juan Vargas (New Dem-CA)

Most Republicans decided to follow the advice of Texas sociopath Louie Gohmert, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, instead of the Heritage Foundation. During the debate on the bill, he started babbling incoherently about defunding the FBI and the Department of Justice, claiming that "whistleblowers" have come to him about about widespread sexual misconduct. “It sounds like Sodom and Gomorrah up there,” he said. “We've got complaints this week about the sexual harassment, about sexual improprieties on the top floor, the seventh floor where the headquarters is, of the FBI and all the favors and all the intimidation that goes along with sexual improprieties.”

Christine Olivo is taking on standard variety Florida Republican Mario Diaz-Balart in a south Florida district made more flippable by Ron DeSantis’ anti-Venezuelan trick. Yesterday, though, that isn’t what Olivo was talking about. She noted that with his vote against the bill, he once again “proved to the American people that he does not care about our small businesses or our consumers. Voting ‘no’ to protecting a fair and free market for business competition is a slap in the face to our business owners in the district. Maybe he’s trying to protect his special interest buddies from disclosing their business ties with Russia. Once again he has proven that he is not fit to represent Florida’s 26th District.”