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The Tech Oversight Project Issues Statement Calling for Changes to Proposed Congressional Funding Cuts to DOJ Antitrust

Mar 04, 2024

Current language would cut $45 million from DOJ Antitrust Division’s Budget and Decouple the Division’s Funding from Merger Filing Fees

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, The Tech Oversight Project issued the following statement calling for changes to current appropriations language that would cut $45 million from the Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division budget and decouple the division’s funding from merger filing fees. The proposed language comes after the Department of Justice announced it was investigating Apple for illegally blocking competition and with its trial against Google for monopoly violations in ad tech set to get underway in September.

As written, the current language would roll back the Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act (spearheaded by Senator Amy Klobuchar), which was signed into law by President Biden in December 2022. The measure is a key accomplishment for the Biden Competition Agenda and its efforts to hold Big Tech companies accountable for higher prices. The legislation updated merger filing fees for the first time since 2001 by lowering fees on smaller acquisitions and increasing them for the largest mergers – raising revenue for the DOJ Antitrust division in the process.

“The current appropriations language would take the cop off the beat when it comes to white collar crime, which would lead to higher prices, less competition, and even more market consolidation in not just tech but our entire economy,” said Sacha Haworth, Executive Director of the Tech Oversight Project. “Congress and the Biden Administration notched a major win in holding Big Tech companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, and Meta accountable by passing the Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act last Congress, and it would be short-sided and foolish to reverse course. If passed, this language would be a disaster for our economy, lead to higher prices for everyone, and give Big Tech and other companies that break the law a massive handout. That’s why we call on Senate leaders to come back to the table and reverse course on the existing language that would strip the Department of Justice Antitrust Division of its ability to do its job and enforce laws on the books.”

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