Jul 9, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden launches 72 initiatives to boost competition in U.S. economy

Joe Biden delivers remark regarding the Afghanistan drawdown in the East Room of the White House on July 8, 2021.

President Biden delivers remark regarding the Afghanistan drawdown in the East Room of the White House on July 8, 2021. Photo: Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Biden will sign an executive order on Friday promoting 72 initiatives across more than a dozen agencies that aim to reduce corporate consolidation, increase competition and offer benefits to consumers, workers, farmers and small businesses.

Why it matters: It's a sweeping push to fulfill Biden's goals of making the U.S. economy more dynamic and fair, as the administration seeks to crack down on highly concentrated industries like Big Tech and compete more effectively with China.

  • "Having healthy competition is vital to an effective capitalist system,” Brian Deese, Biden’s top economic adviser, told the New York Times. “It is a driver of higher wages, lower prices, more innovation and more business creation."

Details: Among other things, the order will:

  • Establish an administration policy of "greater scrutiny of mergers, especially by dominant internet platforms."
  • Ban or limit non-compete agreements and occupational licensing requirements that impede economic mobility.
  • Lower prescription drug prices by supporting state and tribal programs that will import safe and cheaper drugs from Canada.
  • Allow hearing aids to be sold over the counter at drug stores.
  • Push airlines to refund money when they lose bags or when the in-flight Wi-Fi doesn’t work
  • Ban excessive early termination fees on internet bills, require clear disclosure of plan costs to facilitate comparison shopping, and end landlord exclusivity arrangements that stick tenants with only a single internet option.
  • Encourage the FCC to reinstate net neutrality rules prohibiting the blocking, throttling or paid prioritization of web traffic that were repealed by former President Trump's FCC, the sources said.
  • Increase opportunities for small businesses by directing all federal agencies to promote greater competition through their procurement and spending decisions.

The order will establish a White House Competition Council, led by Deese, to monitor progress on these initiatives.

Read the White House fact sheet.

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