Senator Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) has unveiled a proposal to enhance federal anti-trust laws, sharing the initiative with Axios on Monday.
“This country and this government shouldn’t be run by a few mega-corporations,” Hawley said in a statement to Axios. “We tried it the way that the big corporatists wanted, and it hasn’t been a success for the American consumer, for the American producer, or for the American economy.”
The proposal would ban mergers and acquisitions by companies with a market cap of over $100 million and grant the Federal Trade Commission additional powers to regulate “dominant digital firms.” Additionally, the initiative would replace the current standard of “consumer harm” used to identify and break up monopolies, with a new standard of “protection of competition.”
Hawley said that the Republican Party “has got to become the party of trust-busting once again,” pointing to Teddy Roosevelt’s efforts at breaking up monopolies at the turn of the twentieth century.
Hawley has made a name as a Big Tech hawk, introducing proposals to end targeted behavioral advertising, data tracking, and “addictive” features such as endless scrolling. The senator’s economic proposals, including a standalone bill for a round of direct payments to Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic, have found common ground with progressives such as Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.).
In another initiative, Hawley proposed an overhaul of the Federal Trade Commission that would place the agency under the authority of the Justice Department.