U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) on Monday introduced a proposal that would ban companies with a market value of more than $100 billion from conducting mergers and acquisitions.
Hawley, a conservative who has stepped up an attack against Big Tech after major platforms were accused of “censoring” Republican voices, is seeking to bar mergers and buyouts for America’s top-performing companies, a list that includes Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Google.
Dubbed the “Trust-Busting for the Twenty-First Century Act,” Hawley’s legislation would also bolster existing antitrust laws with steeper penalties and a lower threshold for prosecution, reports Axios.
For example, instead of existing consumer harm” standards, prosecution under federal law would focus on “the protection of competition.” Companies that lose antitrust lawsuits would be required to “forfeit all their profits resulting from monopolistic conduct” under the new law, while the Federal Trade Commission would receive new power to regulate “dominant digital firms.”
“This country and this government shouldn’t be run by a few mega-corporations,” Hawley said in a statement. The Republican Party “has got to become the party of trust-busting once again. You know, that’s a part of our history.”
As noted by Reuters, Hawley is also targeting major players in other sectors like pharmaceuticals, where a handful of firms enjoy outsized market power.
Hawley’s bill is similar in scope to a proposal lofted in February by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). Klobuchar is currently heading congressional antitrust hearings involving Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google and Twitter.