Thought Leadership

Baker Botts Washington Recap First Year of the Biden Administration - Episode 5

Client Updates

In the latest installment of our video series on important regulatory and legislative events in the first year of the Biden Administration, Associate Clarence Hawkes provides an update on the executive order issued by President Biden which directs federal agencies to adopt pro-competitive regulations and rescind rules that "create unnecessary barriers to entry that stifle competition." He also discusses the latest on the Senate confirming a successor following the anticipated departure of Republican Neil Chatterjee.

Partner Jeff Oliver gives an update on President Biden's issued order titled "Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy" which serves to further elevate the status of antitrust and competition policy on President Biden's agenda. 

 

On July 9, President Biden issued an executive order directing federal agencies, including FERC to adopt pro-competitive regulations & rescind rules that “create unnecessary barriers to entry that stifle competition.”

The executive order could allow FERC to crack down on anti-competitive behavior while encouraging more wholesale power market expansion.

Democrats are expected to regain a 3-2 majority on the Commission following the anticipated departure of Republican Neil Chatterjee in the weeks following FERC’s July 15 meeting.

Although his term officially ended on June 30, Chatterjee can remain on the Commission until the Senate confirms a successor.

The Biden administration is yet to send a nominee to the Senate who would first need to be approved by the Energy and Natural Resources Committee followed by a confirmation vote by the full Senate.

Chatterjee’s open seat could be critical for Chairman Glick’s goal of expanding the nation’s transmission infrastructure to support grid reliability and facilitate the integration of renewable energy resources in the transmission grid.

On Friday, President Biden issued an order titled “Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy”. The order serves to further elevate the status of antitrust and competition policy on President Biden’s agenda. This is only the latest indication of the Biden Administration's unprecedented focus on heightening antitrust scrutiny in the U.S.

A few weeks ago, President Biden appointed Lina Khan, an outspoken advocate for more aggressive and rigorous antitrust enforcement to be the new Chair of the FTC. 

President Biden's order calls for a “whole-of-government” effort to regulate competition identifying over 70 initiatives involving numerous federal agencies.

The more notable initiatives include:

Encouraging the FTC and DOJ to enforce antitrust laws with more rigor and, where necessary, to use rulemaking authority to “curtail the unfair use of non-compete clauses."

The order also directed the FTC and DOJ to look at updating the horizontal and vertical merger guidelines. 

Later that same day, the heads of the FTC and DOJ indicated they intended to do so. “The current guidelines deserve a hard look to determine whether they are overly permissive. We plan to jointly launch a review of our merger guidelines with the goal of updating them to reflect a rigorous analytical approach consistent with applicable law,” Lina Khan and Acting Assistant Attorney General of the DOJ Antitrust Division Richard A. Powers said in a joint statement. 

Other initiatives focused on increased enforcement in technology, healthcare and agricultural industries.
 

 

ABOUT BAKER BOTTS L.L.P.
Baker Botts is an international law firm of approximately 700 lawyers practicing throughout a network of 13 offices around the globe. Based on our experience and knowledge of our clients' industries, we are recognized as a leading firm in the technology, energy, and life sciences sectors. Since 1840, we have provided creative and effective legal solutions for our clients while demonstrating an unrelenting commitment to excellence. For more information, please visit bakerbotts.com.

Related Professionals