Biden Doubles Down on Anti-Monopoly Policy in State of the Union Address

February 7, 2023 Press Release

Highlights How Antimonopoly Champions at FTC, DOJ and CFPB are Delivering for Working Families and Small Businesses

Washington, D.C. — In his second State of the Union Address, President Biden doubled down on his administration’s commitment to addressing monopoly power and promoting fair competition, celebrating government-wide progress to stand up for working families, small businesses, and local communities.

“Tonight, President Biden doubled down on a whole-of-government effort to protect working families and small businesses from monopoly power,” said Sarah Miller, Executive Director of the American Economic Liberties Project. “From banning junk fees for consumers and non-competes for workers, tackling concentration in ocean shipping and hearing aids to lower consumer prices, to ending Big Tech’s dominance over small businesses, the President reflected on some of the most significant anti-monopoly accomplishments in decades and committed to an economic agenda that centers fair competition going forward. Tonight’s State of the Union further elevates the challenge of corporate power on the national agenda, celebrates the pioneering, popular work of leaders like CFPB Director Rohit Chopra and FTC Chair Lina Khan, and sends an unmistakable message to the rest of the Democratic Party that the President expects his Party to ‘finish the job.’”

Many of the administration’s antimonopoly accomplishments come as a result of President Biden’s 2020 Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy, which included 72 action items to begin addressing concentrated corporate power in an astonishing breadth of markets ranging from agriculture to broadband to prescription drugs to railroads.

Key excerpts from tonight’s address include:

Look, here’s the deal. Big corporations aren’t just taking advantage of the tax code. They’re taking advantage of you, the American consumer.

Here’s my message to all of you out there: I have your back. We’re already preventing insurance companies from sending surprise medical bills, stopping 1 million surprise bills a month.

We’re protecting seniors’ lives and life savings by cracking down on nursing homes that commit fraud, endanger patient safety, or prescribe drugs they don’t need.

Millions of Americans can now save thousands of dollars because they can finally get hearing aids over-the-counter without a prescription.

Capitalism without competition is not capitalism. It is exploitation.

Last year I cracked down on foreign shipping companies that were making you pay higher prices for everyday goods coming into our country.

I signed a bipartisan bill that cut shipping costs by 90%, helping American farmers, businesses, and consumers.

Let’s finish the job.

Pass bipartisan legislation to strengthen antitrust enforcement and prevent big online platforms from giving their own products an unfair advantage.

My administration is also taking on “junk” fees, those hidden surcharges too many businesses use to make you pay more.

For example, we’re making airlines show you the full ticket price upfront and refund your money if your flight is cancelled or delayed.

We’ve reduced exorbitant bank overdraft fees, saving consumers more than $1 billion a year.

We’re cutting credit card late fees by 75%, from $30 to $8.

Junk fees may not matter to the very wealthy, but they matter to most folks in homes like the one I grew up in. They add up to hundreds of dollars a month.

They make it harder for you to pay the bills or afford that family trip.

I know how unfair it feels when a company overcharges you and gets away with it.

Not anymore.

We’ve written a bill to stop all that. It’s called the Junk Fee Prevention Act.

We’ll ban surprise “resort fees” that hotels tack on to your bill. These fees can cost you up to $90 a night at hotels that aren’t even resorts.

We’ll make cable internet and cellphone companies stop charging you up to $200 or more when you decide to switch to another provider.

We’ll cap service fees on tickets to concerts and sporting events and make companies disclose all fees upfront.

And we’ll prohibit airlines from charging up to $50 roundtrip for families just to sit together.

Baggage fees are bad enough – they can’t just treat your child like a piece of luggage.

Americans are tired of being played for suckers.

Pass the Junk Fee Prevention Act so companies stop ripping us off.

For too long, workers have been getting stiffed.

Not anymore.

We’re beginning to restore the dignity of work.

For example, 30 million workers had to sign non-compete agreements when they took a job. So a cashier at a burger place can’t cross the street to take the same job at another burger place to make a couple bucks more.

Not anymore.

We’re banning those agreements so companies have to compete for workers and pay them what they’re worth.

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The American Economic Liberties Project works to ensure America’s system of commerce is structured to advance, rather than undermine, economic liberty, fair commerce, and a secure, inclusive democracy. Economic Liberties believes true economic liberty means entrepreneurs and businesses large and small succeed on the merits of their ideas and hard work; commerce empowers consumers, workers, farmers, and engineers instead of subjecting them to discrimination and abuse from financiers and monopolists; foreign trade arrangements support domestic security and democracy; and wealth is broadly distributed to support equitable political power.