Apr 20, 2022 - Technology

Exclusive: U.S. Chamber seeks to delay confirmation of FTC commissioner

Illustration of a hand holding a hammer breaking away pieces of a briefcase.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce wants to delay confirmation of Federal Trade Commission nominee Alvaro Bedoya, per a letter to Senate leadership shared exclusively with Axios.

Driving the news: Chamber executive vice president Neil Bradley wrote to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Wednesday, asking that legislators press Bedoya on a number of questions before a full Senate vote on his nomination, which could happen as soon as next week.

Why it matters: Bedoya's confirmation would give chair Lina Khan a majority at the FTC, allowing her to push forward more aspects of her pro-competition, anti- big business policy agenda that the Chamber has sharply criticized.

  • Bedoya, a lawyer and Georgetown professor, was nominated by President Biden in 2021 and has yet to be confirmed to the FTC.

Flashback: The Chamber and the FTC have been at war since Khan become chair, with the Chamber arguing the FTC has not been transparent with the business community and has disrupted regular protocol.

  • The Chamber has also argued proposed antitrust legislation that would impact companies like Google, Apple, Meta and Amazon would harm U.S. competitiveness and national security.
  • Meanwhile, those cheering on Khan's agenda, like the group Fight Corporate Monopolies, launched a rapid-response campaign to counter the Chamber's messaging earlier this year.

What they're saying: "Current leadership of the FTC has engaged in a pattern of conduct that undermines the confidence of the business community in the agency's willingness to fairly and transparently carry out enforcement and rulemakings within the boundaries of congressional authority," Bradley wrote in the letter.

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