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FTC Members Question Changes To Panel’s Powers

A house hearing Wednesday regarding the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has seen some Republican members disagreeing with how the administration is evolving, The Financial Times (FT) wrote Wednesday (July 28).

This comes after Democrats in power have changed the blueprint for how they plan to address the competition regulation rules and make it easier for federal regulators to challenge the power of large corporations.

But this is meeting resistance from some members of the FTC, according to the FT, which arose during a hearing before the House energy and commerce committee on Wednesday (July 28).

“In the last few weeks, the commission has repeatedly changed policy direction without giving the public any real notice or right to be heard and, without any serious consideration, removed guidance from the public and the business community alike,” Noah Phillips, one of the two Republicans on the five-member commission said. “We can do better.”

The other Republican, Christine Wilson, agreed, saying the recent reforms had made the commission less accountable.

“In recent weeks, longstanding norms and procedures have been jettisoned,” said Wilson, according to FT. “Practitioners, academics and former enforcers across the political spectrum have expressed concern about the agency’s abrupt departure from regular order. I share these concerns.”

Lina Khan, the new Biden-appointed chair of the FTC, has been reforming how the agency works. A prominent big tech critic, she’s been working on making the commission’s meetings public and giving a broader reach for the FTC to go after antitrust concerns with companies.

PYMNTS reported on the easing of standards of the FTC, writing that one of the early steps there was to rescind a 2015 policy that put a damper on its ability to file antitrust lawsuits. The new goal, rather than the old 2015 guidance, will be used for the “promotion of consumer welfare.”

There was an open meeting conducted online, and the vote ended split down party lines, with the Republicans voting against withdrawing the statement while the Democrats voted for it.

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