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  • Ashley Baker

Letter to Congress Regarding 2025 Funding for the Federal Trade Commission

The Committee for Justice (CFJ) writes in support of the FY2025 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill’s provisions related to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The combination of a reduction in the FTC’s funding level for FY2025 and appropriately targeted prohibitions on expenditure of the agency’s monies will help to return some normalcy in the space of mergers and acquisitions, fairness in commission procedure, and competition matters.




June 10, 2024


The Honorable Tom Cole

Chairman

U.S. House Committee on Appropriations

H-307 The Capitol

Washington, DC 20515


The Honorable Rosa DeLauro

Ranking Member

U.S. House Committee on Appropriations

1036 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515


RE: FISCAL YEAR 2025 APPROPRIATION FOR THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION

 

Dear Chairman Cole and Ranking Member DeLauro:

 

The Committee for Justice (CFJ) writes in support of the FY2025 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill’s provisions related to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). We applaud the committee for allocating $37 million below the FY2024 enacted appropriations level for this agency.

 

Founded in 2002, the Committee for Justice is a non-profit legal and policy organization that educates the public and policymakers about the rule of law and promotes constitutionally limited government. Consistent with this mission, CFJ files amicus curiae briefs in key cases, supports constitutionalist nominees to the federal judiciary, and educates the American public and policymakers about the benefits of individual liberty and the proper roles of our federal courts and administrative agencies.

 

Last month, FTC Chair Lina Khan testified in favor of a 24.4% budget increase for the agency. However, members of this committee have appropriately recognized that unlike previous presidential administrations, Biden administration agency officials at the FTC are motivated by, and have repeatedly articulated, a philosophical rejection of all merger activity and a willingness to use government power reflexively against legitimate market activity with little, if any, consideration given to the economic evidence, relevant case law, or limits of statutory authority. It is the role of Congress to intervene.

 

In light of the Federal Trade Commission's track record since 2021, the appropriation of $388.7 million this bill provides the agency for FY2025, lowering its budget by 9.6% from its FY2024 level, is well-founded. The FTC received a 9-figure increase in appropriation in FY2023, which rewarded a dramatically activist agency. The reduction in funding for the next fiscal year rightly sends a signal from lawmakers that the FTC has only gone further out of bounds.

 

In addition, CFJ commends several of the committee’s administrative provisions. Specifically, Section 532 discontinues the FTC’s overseas adventures.  The agency could no longer collude with the European Union, Chinese, or UK antitrust agencies to block mergers. Section 533 prohibits the FTC from continuing to apply its questionable expansion of conduct it labels “unfair methods of competition.”  Section 534 importantly ensures that the FTC cannot block early termination of Hart-Scott-Rodino filings. Section 535 prohibits the agency from its use of extremely burdensome changes in premerger notification rules, forms, or instructions. Section 536 denies any use of the prior approval of merger orders statement. Section 537 blocks application of the FTC’s policy statement regarding the scope of unfair methods of competition under the Federal Trade Commission Act’s Section 5, which has become a hammer in the current commission’s hands. Section 538 begins to restore procedural norms of the FTC.  It prohibits the commission from meeting or voting on the filing of a complaint unless each commissioner attests to having had the opportunity to “review all relevant materials at least 10 business days” before such a meeting.

 

The combination of a reduction in the FTC’s funding level for FY2025 and these appropriately targeted prohibitions on expenditure of the agency’s monies, limiting the agency’s ability to carry out several of its more extreme policy initiatives, will help to return some normalcy in the space of mergers and acquisitions, fairness in commission procedure, and competition matters. We are pleased to voice support for these provisions, and we urge committee members to support the measure.

 

Sincerely,

 

Ashley Baker                                                                         Curt Levey

Director of Public Policy                                                        President

The Committee for Justice                                                    The Committee for Justice

 

James Edwards

Senior Advisor for Federal Affairs

The Committee for Justice


6.13.24 CFJ ltr House Fin Svcs Approps FY25
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