White House Fumbles on Adequately Resourcing DOJ Antitrust Division

March 11, 2024 Press Release

Washington, D.C.—In response to the release of the White House’s 2025 annual budget—which seeks a modest budget increase for the Department of Justice Antitrust Division but fails to push back against a disastrous Congressional proposal to eliminate a key non-budgetary revenue source—the American Economic Liberties Project released the following statement.

“The President has repeatedly emphasized, including in his State of the Union address, that robust antitrust enforcement is a key pillar of his economic agenda. Unfortunately, this commitment is not reflected in the FY2025 budget for the Department of Justice Antitrust Division,” said Nidhi Hegde, Interim Executive Director of the American Economic Liberties Project. “The modest increase to the Antitrust Division’s budget in 2024 is helpful but fails to counter an effort by Congressional appropriators to effectively undo the 2022 Merger Filing Fees Modernization Act, a major turning point in adequately resourcing enforcers. If the president is serious about ‘bolstering antitrust enforcement,’ as he has indicated, he cannot idly stand by as his agenda and his enforcers are undermined: the White House must be consistent and clear that corporate merger filing fees should go to antitrust enforcers, as Congress intended.”

The Department of Justice is already 40% smaller than it was in in 1979, despite a much larger economy. Since Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter’s appointment in 2021, the Division has secured massive wins for free and fair competition across the economy. It successfully blocked the Simon & Schuster-Penguin Random House Merger in 2022, the first successful antitrust suit in recent history centered on harms to competition in the labor market. Its actions in the meat processing industry are protecting food producers and consumers’ pocketbooks, leading to a 22% drop in the price of Turkey at Thanksgiving 2023. Most recently, the Division successfully blocked the JetBlue-Spirit merger—a move that has directly produced greater competition and consumer choice, with Spirit announcing the opening of new routes this month.

The Division is now looking to continue its hot streak with investigations against some of the most notorious monopolists—including Ticketmaster, UnitedHealth Group, Apple, and more. This is the invaluable work Congress is poised to kneecap, following budget negotiations that were potentially influenced by corporate political donations and revolving door conflicts of interest, according to alarming recent reporting. In addition to slashing 20% from the planned budget increase, appropriators moved to limit the funds the Division could derive from corporate merger filing fees—a key supplemental funding source secured by the Merger Fees Modernization Act.

Learn more about the DOJ’s Accomplishments Under AAG Kanter here.

Learn more about Economic Liberties here.


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.