Rep. Porter Reintroduces Bill to Fight Coordinated Price Hikes
Legislation closes gaps in antitrust law and strengthens consumer power to take on big corporations
Washington, April 25, 2023
Congresswoman Katie Porter (D-CA) has reintroduced the Competitive Prices Act, which would empower consumers to hold big corporations accountable for coordinating price hikes.
“It’s on Congress to pass safeguards to protect Americans from monopoly power and coordinated price hikes that gouge consumers on basic necessities,” said Rep. Porter, a consumer protection advocate. “My bill would crack down on greedy companies that abuse loopholes in antitrust laws to raise costs for families and boost corporate profits.”
Loopholes in core antitrust laws, like the 133-year-old Sherman Act, let companies off the hook for tacitly coordinating raising prices on consumers. The Competitive Prices Act closes these gaps and provides new tools for consumers to hold big corporations accountable through the justice system.
The Competitive Prices Act is cosponsored by Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), and Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI). It was also endorsed by American Economic Liberties Project, Demand Progress, Farm Action, Food and Water Watch, Groundwork Collaborative, Liberation in a Generation, Public Citizen, Revolving Door Project, and Small Business Majority.
“Representative Porter’s Competitive Prices Act will make sure powerful corporations can no longer elude anti-collusion laws to essentially steal from consumers,” said Krista Brown, Senior Policy Analyst at the American Economic Liberties Project. “In a severely monopolized economy, it’s easy for a handful of firms that don’t fear competition to coordinate to keep prices high. And because of loopholes in the law, it’s hard for antitrust enforcers to crack down on this blatantly illegal activity. This bill would change that, and we encourage Congress to make it law.”
“Our antitrust laws are clear: price manipulation is anticompetitive, harmful, and illegal,” said Joe Van Wye, Policy and Outreach Director at Farm Action Fund. “Yet, corporations who abuse their power face no consequences because decades of irresponsible court decisions have set impossibly high standards for enforcement action. The Competitive Prices Act will clarify price-fixing as illegal, the way Congress always intended, and restore the tools federal enforcement agencies need to hold corporate monopolists accountable and foster competition across our economy. Farm Action Fund thanks Representative Porter for her tireless work to protect farmers, ranchers, workers, and consumers, and looks forward to this legislation’s speedy passage.”
“The Competitive Prices Act fills a pervasive court-created gap in government prosecution of coordinated corporate price fixing schemes,” said Matt Kent, Competition Policy Advocate at Public Citizen. “Corporations have had free reign to passively manipulate prices in concentrated markets because enforcers are hamstrung by business-friendly legal presumptions – violations of the law cannot be punished because the burdens are too high on the government. Representative Porter’s bill would solve that problem and put corporate criminals on notice. We encourage Congress to act on this important legislation.”
As a single mom and consumer finance expert, Rep. Porter has consistently worked in Congress to crack down on corporate abuse that hurts families. Her legislation to stop Big Pharma from unreasonably hiking prices to line their pockets became law, and she released a report highlighting drug companies’ profiteering off cancer patients. Last year, the House passed her bill to hold Big Oil accountable for price gouging consumers. Congresswoman Porter continues to stand up to corporate consolidation that raises costs for families by speaking out about monopoly power in the grocery, health care, and tech industries.