In a significant development U.S. President Joe Biden has proposed a hike of 11% in budgetary funding for the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, both of which have filed major lawsuits against big tech companies in 2020.
Both agencies review mergers to ensure that they are in compliance with antitrust laws with some lawmakers accusing them of being too lax.
Under the proposed budget, the FTC which has a staff of around 1,140 people would see its headcount increase to about 1,250 in the 2022 fiscal year, beginning from October 1.For the next fiscal year the agency’s spending would be $389.8 million, up by around 11% from $351 million. The Justice Department’s Antitrust Division would see its budget increase from $185 million to $201 million, an increase of 8.6%.
The president’s budget is typically seen as a statement of intent in terms of policies.
Senator Amy Klobuchar, who chairs the Senate’s key antitrust panel, has introduced a bill in the U.S. Congress which seeks to increase the FC’s budget to $418 million and the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division budget to $252 million.