Many industries are consolidating. Large mergers and acquisitions are increasing as big companies buy out small rivals before they can become competitive. Exclusionary practices by dominant companies — refusals to deal with rivals, restrictive contracting and predatory pricing — stifle competition. America’s antitrust law enforcement against powerful firms has fallen short, especially in regard to enforcement against the dominant digital platforms and other large corporations.

To address these issues, the Competition and Antitrust Law Enforcement Reform Act would:

— Increase enforcement resources by providing Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and Federal Trade Commission with the financial resources they need to take on wealthy and sophisticated corporations.

— Strengthen prohibitions against anticompetitive mergers so they can be addressed promptly before they cause harm; this would include updating the legal standard for permissible mergers and shifting the burden to the merging parties to prove their merger will not violate the law.

— Prevent harmful dominant firm conduct by creating a new provision to prohibit “exclusionary conduct” that presents an “appreciable risk of harming competition.”

— Establish a new, independent FTC division to conduct market studies and merger retrospectives.

— Implement additional reforms to seek civil fines for antitrust violations, study the effect of past mergers, strengthen whistleblower protections and more.

This bill would move America toward true antitrust reform, freeing consumers, workers and businesses from the unfair impact of anticompetitive mergers and monopolies and restore competition to American markets. Consumer Reports strongly supports it. Tell your members of Congress they should, too!

Steve Gehlert

West Newbury

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