Republicans complain U.S. FTC chair Khan is overstepping her power

·2 min read

WASHINGTON, July 28 (Reuters) - Republicans at the U.S Federal Trade Commission told Congress on Wednesday that the agency's Democratic leadership has been moving too quickly on decisions, leaving too little time for debate and assuming too much power.

Commissioner Christine Wilson, a Republican, said the commission had previously had briefings and "robust dialogue" that led to "reasoned conclusions" but stopped short of directly blaming FTC Chair Lina Khan, who was named to the position by President Joe Biden in June.

"In recent weeks long standing norms and procedures have been jettisoned," she told a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. "I have long been concerned about the possibility of agency overreach and recent actions by commission leadership has deepened those concerns."

The FTC's commissioners voted along party lines three times in two open meetings this month to make it easier for the agency to stop mergers that it considers anti-competitive. The two Republicans on the panel have criticized them for making some of the decisions too fast.

Commissioner Noah Phillips, a Republican, agreed with Wilson, saying: "The commission has repeatedly changed policy direction without giving the public any real notice."

FTC Chair Khan, who has been on the job for just weeks, said that she would work with the Republican commissioners.

"I think this is a really fascinating moment for a new emerging bipartisan consensus, especially around some of the concerns related to concentration of economic power in the digital markets," she said, adding that she was always keen to find areas of agreement.

Republicans have been angered with dominant tech companies because of allegations that they treat conservatives unfairly while Democrats have focused on allegations that the Big Tech companies treat smaller rivals unfairly by seeking to crush their challengers if they cannot purchase them. (Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

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