Lee, Grassley, Hatch Introduce FTC Reform Bill [UPH Wire]

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

*Lee, Grassley, Hatch Introduce FTC Reform Bill*

Today, Senators Mike Lee (R-UT), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Orrin Hatch
(R-UT) introduced the Standard Merger and Acquisition Reviews Through Equal
Rules Act (SMARTER Act). This legislation reforms and modernizes the
application of our antitrust laws by harmonizing the rules governing how
the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ)
review proposed mergers and acquisitions.

Based on recommendations made by the Antitrust Modernization Commission in
a 2007 report, the bill would require the FTC and DOJ to satisfy the same
standard to obtain a preliminary injunction to block a merger and would
eliminate existing disparities between the procedures the two agencies use
in merger litigation.

Lee, Grassley, and Hatch said they look forward to a hearing on the bill
that will be held on October 7th by the Subcommittee on Antitrust. The
Subcommittee will hear testimony from Edith Ramirez, Chairwoman of the FTC,
and an expert panel of witnesses to explore the merits of the SMARTER Act
and whether any improvements to the bill are warranted.

Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) has introduced the same version of the bill in
the House of Representatives (H.R. 2745).

“The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission share
concurrent jurisdiction to review proposed mergers for compliance with our
nation’s antitrust laws, and parties to a merger should not face different
sets of rules when preparing to undergo a merger review process depending
on the happenstance of whether the Antitrust Division of the DOJ or the FTC
reviews their merger,” Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman Mike Lee
said. “Instead, the procedures and standards for review should be the
same,” Sen. Lee said, “and whether a merger proceeds should depend on
whether it is pro-competitive or anti-competitive, not on which agency
reviews the transaction. My co-sponsors and I favor sensible, responsible
reform measures that equalize the standards and procedures governing how
the FTC and DOJ litigate merger cases.”

“Our antitrust laws are in place to protect consumers and promote
competition,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley added. “We ought
to be consistent when determining whether proposed mergers meet these
goals, regardless of the agency conducting the review. Our legislation
creates a more uniform standard for the Justice Department and the Federal
Trade Commission to ensure greater fairness and simplicity when reviewing
proposed mergers and their impacts on consumers.”

“This is an important issue for the business community and for all
Americans,” Sen. Hatch said. “There is no good reason for the Federal Trade
Commission and the Department of Justice to apply different standards in
enforcing our nation’s antitrust laws. Businesses seeking to merge deserve
consistent treatment without regard to which agency decides to review the
merger. I look forward to working with Senators Lee and Grassley to move
this legislation forward to bring much-needed reforms to the merger review

*Communications Director*
Conn Carroll

*Press Secretary*
Emily Long


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