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Biden Seeks ‘Historic’ Funding Jumps for Competition Watchdogs

March 28, 2022, 3:00 PM

The Biden administration is proposing steep jumps in funding for its antitrust regulators as part of its push to increase competition throughout the U.S. economy.

The administration wants to increase the Department of Justice Antitrust Division’s funding by $88 million in fiscal 2023 compared to the unit’s actual funding in 2021, according to budget documents released Monday.

The Federal Trade Commission Competition Bureau would see a $139 million rise under the administration’s proposed fiscal 2023 budget compared with its actual funding levels in fiscal 2021.

President Joe Biden made increasing competition a top priority following a July 2021 executive order that directed the DOJ, the FTC and other agencies to crack down on monopolistic practices. The proposed budget would give them more ammunition to challenge potentially anticompetitive mergers and root out other alleged violations that can raise prices for consumers.

“The Budget reflects the Administration’s commitment to vigorous marketplace commitment to vigorous marketplace competition through robust enforcement of antitrust law by including historic increases” for antitrust enforcement agencies, the budget documents said.

Both the FTC and the DOJ’s Antitrust Division have become more aggressive in their merger reviews during the Biden administration, including challenges to mergers in sectors ranging from healthcare to the defense industry.

To contact the reporter on this story: Evan Weinberger in New York at eweinberger@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Ferullo at mferullo@bloomberglaw.com