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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump's outgoing antitrust chief Makan Delrahim on Tuesday endorsed a proposal from House Democrats that would put new limits on acquisitions by large companies, during comments made at a Duke University event.

Why it matters: Momentum is building for major antitrust reform, updating rules that were written for railroads instead of routers.

  • Democrats began agitating for it shortly after Trump took office. Some Republicans view it as a way to curb Big Tech's power. And Delrahim's words may help sway others GOP members who are on the fence.

The draft legislation cited by Delrahim would presume horizontal acquisitions by a company with more than a 50% market share in a defined market are anticompetitive, no matter the size of the acquired company.

  • Delrahim said: "The goal here is to create a bright-line rule for merging parties and for courts, allowing for better business planning by private parties and better litigation planning by federal antitrust enforcers."
  • He added that his endorsement was grounded in DOJ's experience with both the Visa/Plaid and Sabre/Farelogix situations.
  • Delrahim also proposed the creation of a public-private rulemaking body to focus on increasing competition among online platforms. Plus a pilot “specialized antitrust court,” to see if it could perform better than courts with generalist judges who lack deep antitrust and/or industry knowledge.

The bottom line: Washington, D.C. changes today, with a new President and a new Senate majority. But the evolution of antitrust law continues to point in the same direction.

Go deeper: Read Delrahim's full speech

Go deeper

Fortnite developer brings on its first lobbyists

An 11-year-old gamer plays Fortnite in South Pasadena, California, last April. Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

The company behind the wildly popular video game franchise Fortnite, which is suing Apple over alleged anti-competitive practices, hired its first lobbyists this month to “monitor” antitrust issues in Washington.

Why it matters: Epic Games’ case against Apple has potentially huge legal and financial stakes. The company’s decision to enlist K Street veterans with connections on both sides of the aisle indicates it is tuning into D.C., where both parties have railed against anti-competitive practices in the tech industry.

Swing voters oppose Texas abortion law

Protesters at a rally at the Texas State Capitol. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

All 10 swing voters in Axios’ latest focus groups — including those who described themselves as "pro-life" — said they oppose Texas' new anti-abortion law.

Why it matters: If their responses reflect larger patterns in U.S. society, this could hurt Republicans with women and independents in next year's midterm elections. The swing voters cited overreach, invasion of privacy and concerns about frivolous lawsuits jamming up the courts.

1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Biden bombs with Manchin

Then-Vice President Joe Biden conducts a ceremonial swearing-in for Sen. Joe Manchin in 2010. Photo: Tom Williams/Roll Call

President Biden failed to persuade Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to agree to spending $3.5 trillion on the Democrats' budget reconciliation package during their Oval Office meeting on Wednesday, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Defying a president from his own party — face-to-face — is the strongest indication yet Manchin is serious about cutting specific programs and limiting the price tag of any potential bill to $1.5 trillion. His insistence could blow up the deal for progressives and others.