Federal Trade Commission chair Lina Khan will have to put parts of her ambitious and progressive agenda on hold as a Democratic commissioner leaves next week, meaning Democrats will no longer be in the majority.
The Senate confirmed on Thursday that FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra will head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, meaning the agency will again be party-divided with two Republican commissioners and two Democratic commissioners until Chopra be replaced by candidate Biden, Alvaro Bedoya.
For a few months, the new dynamic will likely translate into less controversial political changes within the agency, more regular application of the law and a focus on investigations, cases and actions on which both parties agree.
“There are many non-controversial areas that have always moved things forward on a bipartisan basis, such as consumer protection, fraud, privacy and antitrust matters,” Republican Commissioner Noah Phillips said. Washington Examiner.
Phillips added that the agency had historically operated largely on a bipartisan basis, including under the leadership of Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, who chaired the trade commission ad interim for a few months before Khan took over.
He also said he and Republican Commissioner Christine Wilson were not “monolithically aligned” and “could be divided” on certain issues and votes within the agency, possibly giving Democrats the opportunity to team up with him. Republicans on certain issues.
Conservative antitrust lawyers say Khan and the agency’s Democrats, though in the majority in recent months, have so far pursued an aggressive and partisan agenda, stressing their expansion regulatory powers, contraction the merger approval process, and revoke certain directives from the Trump administration.
“The controversial overhaul of the FTC rules with new policy statements and other initiatives adopted along partisan lines will not happen for some time without the Democratic majority,” said Neil Chilson, acting chief technologist at the trade commission for a year under the Trump administration. .
Chilson said, however, that since Democrats removed the requirement to obtain majority vote approval from the committee to initiate an investigation or issue a subpoena, Khan will still be able to pursue many parts of his agenda. without any official vote of the agencies.
“Khan can carry on with her agenda even without a majority for many months. This is part of the reason she has given each commissioner the power to subpoena for inquiries, as a stopgap in case she is not in. the majority, “said Chilson, who is now a senior researcher at the Charles Koch Institute, a libertarian research organization.
Those in favor of Khan’s antitrust agenda said they were optimistic that Chopra’s replacement Bedoya would soon be confirmed by the Senate and that much of the Democratic agenda would continue even without their being in a majority in the weeks or months to come.
“It is true that the FTC will not hold many votes during this time and it is important to act quickly to get Bedoya’s confirmation, so that we can start having important votes again,” said Charlotte Slaiman, head of competition policy at open internet advocacy. Public Knowledge group.
“But there is a lot of important work that is part of our agenda and that will continue when it comes to privacy, antitrust, consumer protection and fraud with investigations and cases,” she said. added.
Original location: Biden’s progressive FTC agenda faces pause as Democratic member leaves
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