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Lina Khan's FTC can lastly transfer ahead with its progressive agenda after Senate confirms fifth commissioner

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Federal Trade Commission constructing

Jeff Greenberg | Universal Images Group | Getty Images

The Federal Trade Commission lastly has the ability to maneuver ahead with its progressive enforcement and coverage agenda after the Senate confirmed President Joe Biden’s nominee to the fifth commissioner seat Wednesday.

The Senate voted to substantiate Alvaro Bedoya 51-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote.

The vote breaks a impasse between the 2 Democratic and two Republican commissioners on the FTC, which is chaired by progressive antitrust educational Lina Khan, paving the best way to maneuver ahead with its most bold agenda gadgets.

That may embrace an antitrust lawsuit towards Amazon, which the company has reportedly investigated. It may additionally embrace rulemaking on digital privateness and a narrower view of which mergers to approve, because the company opinions main offers together with Microsoft’s deliberate buy of recreation maker Activision Blizzard.

The vote comes months after Biden first nominated Bedoya in September. The founding director of the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown Law confronted dogged criticism from Republicans on the Senate Commerce Committee over his previous tweets, together with a retweet evaluating the 2016 Republican National Convention to a white supremacist rally, and a tweet the place he referred to as Immigration and Customs Enforcement an “out-of-control domestic surveillance agency that peers into all our lives.”

Alvaro Bedoya

Source: U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

As a consequence, the committee deadlocked twice on the query of whether or not to suggest his nomination to the complete Senate.

At the start of Khan’s time period as chair, the fee had a full slate of 5, together with three Democrats — the max allowed from anybody celebration at one time. But since former FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra was confirmed to a brand new function main the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the company has consisted of simply two commissioners from every celebration.

That impasse meant the company may solely transfer ahead with enforcement measures, coverage stances or rule-makings that a minimum of one Republican commissioner would conform to. And the minority commissioners have vocally objected to Khan’s method to working the company.

Some members of the enterprise neighborhood are cautious of a Khan-led FTC at full pressure.

“Rather than a rubber stamp, a fifth commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission must serve as a check on Chair Khan’s radical agenda that aims to ‘shape the distribution of power and opportunity across our economy,'” the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley mentioned in a press release on Tuesday. “Until more is learned about Alvaro Bedoya’s views on transparency, due process, statutory authority, and basic management of the Commission, it would be irresponsible to confirm him as Khan’s tie-breaking vote.”

In her educational profession, Khan famously argued that the U.S. should use a extra expansive framework to think about antitrust challenges towards tech corporations similar to Amazon, somewhat than the decades-old client welfare normal, which locations an emphasis on financial prices to shoppers.

In a memo final fall, Khan laid out her imaginative and prescient for the company, together with breaking down silos between its Bureau of Competition and Bureau of Consumer Protection and performing quick to mitigate harms, particularly in “next-generation technologies, innovations, and nascent industries across sectors.”

Since then, the company has taken some steps which have jarred the enterprise neighborhood, similar to suspending early terminations, a coverage that permits some low-risk offers to shut earlier than the ready interval expires, and issuing letters warning events that the company just isn’t completed taking a look at their deal, so they could merge at their very own danger.

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WATCH: FTC Chair Lina Khan solutions query on antitrust regulation and information privateness

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