Washington, D.C. – Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) delivered the following opening statement, as prepared, during a Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law hearing on “Proposals to Strengthen the Antitrust Laws and Restore Competition Online”:
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding today’s hearing.
“It has been a pleasure to take part in this historic and bipartisan process.
“As we approach the final months of this session, I want to take a moment to reflect on the Subcommittee’s substantial efforts during this Congress.
“The Subcommittee has taken a number of concrete steps forward in support of its critical mission to promote open and fair markets for the American people—with an appropriate focus on consumers and workers, as well as small and medium-sized businesses who are struggling to stay afloat.
“During the 116th Congress, we have favorably reported out of the Judiciary Committee nearly a dozen bipartisan bills developed by the Antitrust Subcommittee—all of which passed with unanimous support.
“These include a bipartisan package of bills that ban various types of anti-competitive conduct by branded drug companies, which are vital to stop the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs.
“We were able to enact one of these bills—the CREATES Act—into law in 2019. This Act, which was sponsored by Subcommittee Chairman Cicilline and Senator Patrick Leahy, will cut drug prices by billions of dollars by removing entry barriers for generic competitors.
“Over the past year, we have also enacted several other important laws that originated with the Subcommittee, including laws to ensure that small businesses, veterans, and consumers have access to a fresh start through the bankruptcy system. This work is more important than ever as our nation continues to grapple with the devastating economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We also passed out of the House, for the first time ever, the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act, or FAIR Act, which restores the rights of every American and small business to their day in court by ending forced arbitration. This important legislation was championed by Courts and Intellectual Property Subcommittee Chairman Johnson.
“Just two days ago, the Judiciary Committee voted out a bill that I sponsored to help address the student loan debt crisis. That legislation makes student loan debt dischargeable in bankruptcy—fixing a great injustice that burdens millions of Americans.
“I am deeply proud of these efforts and I look forward to continuing our work towards enacting laws that will promote competition, access to the courts, and a fair bankruptcy process—among the Subcommittee’s other important work.
“Turning to today’s hearing, over the past fifteen months, the Antitrust Subcommittee has undertaken a historic, bipartisan investigation of competition in the digital marketplace.
“As I made clear at the Subcommittee’s last hearing, I had significant concerns about consolidation and its harmful effects.
“The investigational record bore this out. Each of the major companies that were part of this investigation, in its own way, exerts dominant control in the digital marketplace that is cause for concern.
“As we approach the end of this investigation—with the benefit of our six hearings and substantial record—my belief that we must modernize and reinvigorate enforcement of the antitrust laws is stronger than ever.
“We must modernize our antitrust laws to meet the challenges of our modern economy. And we must ensure that our enforcement agencies have the tools, resources, and the will to vigorously enforce the law to protect consumers and promote competition.
“This investigation has also made clear to me that beyond fixing the antitrust laws, we must also use our oversight authority to shore up the antitrust enforcement agencies’ ability and will to enforce those laws.
“In some instances, the lack of enforcement may come down to a lack of will. Our antitrust enforcers should not pull punches. We must ensure that the leadership at these agencies is committed to robust enforcement.
“It is also important to adequately staff and resource the agencies as antitrust cases have become more resource-intensive and agency staff is faced with investigating some of the wealthiest companies of all time.
“I look forward to hearing from our witnesses and to discussing how we can work together on these important matters going forward.
“I thank the Chairman for holding this hearing and for his leadership of this important investigation. I also want to thank the Ranking Member, Mr. Sensenbrenner—the Chairman Emeritus of the Full Committee—for his many years of service to this Committee and to the House. He will be sorely missed next Congress.
“With that, I yield back the balance of my time.”
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