TO THE MEMBERS OF THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
The Chamber strongly opposes four bills relating to antitrust, H.R. 3849, H.R. 3816, H.R. 3825, and H.R. 3826, because they would undo the current focus of antitrust law to balance potential harms and benefits of certain transactions to consumers, and substantially change enforcement from a tool used in limited circumstances into an aggressive regulatory hammer. Members of Congress who refrain from cosponsoring these bills will receive credit for the Leadership component of their “How They Voted” rating.
Antitrust law should remain an area of widespread application firmly guided by economic analysis that measures the total impact, both harms and benefits, that accrue to consumers. Antitrust should remain unconcerned with harm to competitors – highly competitive markets often adversely impact competitors, but routinely to the benefit of consumers. Antitrust laws should only intervene when analysis demonstrates consumer harm outweighs any corresponding benefits.
In contrast to antitrust laws, which look to market forces to drive market outcomes, government regulation is where the government makes decisions that impact wide sectors of the economy to direct market outcomes. Legitimate policy debates that have arisen from the digitization of the economy are worthy of thoughtful discussion, but congressional action would be better focused on legislation to authorize regulation or other methods to address these concerns, not to changes in the laws to alter the role of antitrust enforcement. Such an outcome would end up with the government in the role of picking winners and losers in the marketplace.
The Chamber strongly opposes all four bills.
Neil L. Bradley