US Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) tabled a proposal on Monday banning companies with a market value of more than $ 100 billion from conducting mergers and acquisitions.
Hawley, a conservative who stepped up an attack on big tech after major platforms were accused of “censoring” Republican votes, is seeking to ban mergers and acquisitions for America’s top performers, including Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft and Google .
Hawley’s legislation, dubbed “trust-busting for 21st century law,” would also strengthen existing antitrust laws with stricter penalties and a lower threshold for prosecution, Axios reports.
Instead of the existing standards for consumer damage, criminal prosecution under federal law would, for example, focus on the “protection of competition”. Companies that lose antitrust lawsuits would have to “forfeit all of their profits from monopoly behavior” under the new law. The Federal Trade Commission would be given new powers to regulate “dominant digital companies”.
“This country and this government shouldn’t be run by some mega-corporations,” Hawley said in a statement. The Republican Party “needs to revert to the breach of trust. You know, that’s part of our history.”
As Reuters notes, Hawley is also targeting key players in other sectors, such as the pharmaceutical industry, where a handful of companies have oversized market power.
Hawley’s bill is similar in scope to a proposal tabled by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) in February. Klobuchar is currently leading antitrust hearings in Congress involving Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Twitter.