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The US bipartisan invoice to extend merger charges for giant offers is handed by the Senate committee

© Reuters. Senator Amy Klobuchar, D-MN, asks questions during a hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and Law at the U.S. Capitol in Washington DC, the United States, on April 27, 2021. Tasos Katopodis / Pool via REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A bill to increase the fees that companies planning the largest mergers pay to state antitrust agencies and provide those agencies with larger budgets was passed with one vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

The bill, jointly sponsored by senior antitrust senator Amy Klobuchar and senior Republican Republican woman president Chuck Grassley, would cut the fee for smaller mergers below $ 161.5 million from $ 45,000 to $ 30,000. For deals worth $ 5 billion or more, the fee would increase from $ 280,000 to $ 2.25 million.

According to the law, these costs would increase with inflation.

The Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department's Antitrust Division evaluate mergers to ensure that they comply with antitrust laws.

The bill would increase approvals for everyone and give the FTC a budget of $ 418 million, while the Justice Department Antitrust Division would receive $ 252 million.

In brief remarks before the vote, Klobuchar said the fees had not changed since 2001 and that the Department of Justice sued Alphabet's Google (NASDAQ 🙂 last year, while the FTC filed a large antitrust lawsuit against Facebook (NASDAQ :).

"The tape and plasters just can't take on the biggest companies in the world," she said.

Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican, said in comments during a discussion on the bill that he was "quite disappointed with the lax antitrust enforcement we saw in the previous administration."

He said he hoped the FTC and Justice Department would get tougher. "Democrats have historically been more antitrust than Republicans, so this instinct, which can sometimes be harmful, will potentially be positively directed at the monopolists we have in Silicon Valley."

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