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Senate Confirms 32-Year-Old Antitrust Scholar As Federal Trade Commission Chair

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The Senate confirmed progressive-leaning Biden nominee Lina Khan to serve as Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission.

Khan received support from both sides of the aisle due to her willingness to break up Big Tech companies.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Ms. Khan, a 32-year-old Columbia University law professor who has been a vocal critic of powerful technology companies, was confirmed on a 69-28 vote. With her confirmation secured, Mr. Biden immediately designated her as FTC chairwoman, a move that caps the ascendancy of a progressive camp that favors far-reaching changes to antitrust enforcement.

Ms. Khan has been the leader of that movement, which believes the current decadeslong approach has done too little to restrain corporate dominance and stop mergers that have eroded competition. She has argued in favor of blocking more mergers, aggressively attacking monopolistic practices and potentially breaking up some of America’s largest companies.

“I’m so grateful to the Senate for my confirmation,” said Khan. “Congress created the FTC to safeguard fair competition and protect consumers, workers, and honest businesses from unfair & deceptive practices. I look forward to upholding this mission with vigor and serving the American public.”

https://twitter.com/linamkhan/status/1404841168182169602

While announcing her nomination in March, the White House emphasized Khan’s antimonopoly work:

Lina Khan is an associate professor of law at Columbia Law School, where she teaches and writes about antitrust law, infrastructure industries law, and the antimonopoly tradition… Khan previously served as counsel to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law, where she helped lead the Subcommittee’s investigation into digital markets. Khan was also a legal advisor in the office of Commissioner Rohit Chopra at the Federal Trade Commission and legal director at the Open Markets Institute.

Khan’s confirmation occurs as lawmakers — both Democrats and Republicans — prepare legislation that would regulate large firms’ domination of the technology sector.

House members released a package of five bills that would “expand opportunities for consumers, workers, and small business owners by holding unregulated Big Tech monopolies accountable for anti-competitive conduct.” Among other actions, the legislation aims to restrict dominant platforms’ ability to “leverage their control over across multiple business lines to self-preference and disadvantage competitors in ways that undermine free and fair competition.”

A few days later, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) unveiled the Tougher Enforcement Against Monopolies (TEAM) Act in order to protect competition while minimizing government intervention.

“Anticompetitive and monopolistic business practices hurt innovation and consumers,” Grassley explained. “This bill streamlines and strengthens antitrust enforcement and holds bad actors accountable for their anticompetitive actions while preserving a free market.”

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) recently introduced the “Bust Up Big Tech Act,” which would “break up Big Tech companies seeking to dominate multiple industries simultaneously.”

“Woke Big Tech companies like Google and Amazon have been coddled by Washington politicians for years,” remarked Hawley in April. “This treatment has allowed them to amass colossal amounts of power that they use to censor political opinions they don’t agree with and shut out competitors who offer consumers an alternative to the status quo. It’s past time to bust up Big Tech companies, restore competition, and give the power back to the American consumers.”

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