Attorney General Merrick B. Garland made the following statement after the President’s signing of the Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy:
“The Department of Justice welcomes the Executive Order, which furthers a fair, open and competitive economy through a ‘whole of government’ approach. The department reaffirms its commitment to promoting competition by fairly and vigorously enforcing the antitrust laws. We will immediately begin implementing the interagency collaborations called for in the Executive Order, and we look forward to helping our agency partners use their regulatory authorities to bring greater competition to the U.S. economy. As President Biden emphasized in the Executive Order, competitive markets benefit all Americans — including consumers, workers, farmers and entrepreneurs.
“Our nation’s laws promote competition through both antitrust enforcement and regulation. The Department of Justice is responsible for preventing harmful mergers and stopping anticompetitive conduct through vigorous enforcement of the antitrust laws. At the same time, the regulatory powers wielded by a wide variety of federal agencies can be used to lower barriers to competitive entry, promote innovation and limit the harms that flow from monopoly power.
“Using enforcement and regulation in tandem will benefit America’s consumers, workers and small businesses by increasing competition throughout the economy, including in key areas such as labor markets and the agricultural, health care and technology sectors. The Executive Order’s ‘whole of government’ strategy builds on historical examples of the department working closely with regulators to promote and sustain competition. While the department’s antitrust consent decree shattered the AT&T telephone monopoly, the explosion in choice of phone service and network equipment innovation that followed also required rules that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) developed and worked with the department to implement. Similar collaborations have supported competition in industries ranging from airlines to health insurance.
“As encouraged by the Executive Order, the department plans to work closely with other federal agencies to determine how their authorities can better promote competition and open markets in the modern economy. This increased interagency coordination will promote robust competition in the American economy. For example, working with the Department of Health and Human Services, we can promote high quality telehealth services that expand health care competition and lower prices for consumers and their employers.
“The department will closely examine its antitrust guidelines and policy statements to better educate the public on its enforcement priorities, and it will heighten its efforts to prevent mergers that would result in excessive consolidations of purchasing power.
“The department also will continue to expand its partnership with other agencies to promote competition in labor markets. When agencies work together to promote competition for workers, it helps all workers, including racial and ethnic minorities and disadvantaged and underrepresented groups. And the long-term benefits accrue not just to workers, but to the entire economy, including small businesses and rural communities.”
Click to view the Executive Order.