Budget Committee Endorses Grassley ResolutionIowa Senator Seeks Competitive Environment for Family Farmers
Grassley's sense of the Senate resolution was given unanimous support by the Senate Budget committee, which is working on the blueprint for federal spending in the next fiscal year.
"I want to make sure that the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission dedicate significant resources to reviewing mergers and investigating complaints of unfair practices in the agriculture industry," Grassley said. "My resolution expresses the will of the U.S. Senate that ag mergers and business practices should be carefully scrutinized, especially during these economically hard times for farmers."
Today's resolution is part of an effort Grassley started in 1998 to ensure the federal government weighs the effect of increased concentration on the family farmer.
Last week, Grassley introduced a bill that requires the Agriculture Department to review all ag mergers, gives the agency the same ability as the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission to challenge a merger, and grants the USDA expanded authority to prohibit anti-competitive practices in agribusiness. Grassley's proposal has been sent to the Senate Judiciary committee for consideration.
At Grassley's request the independent General Accounting Office is now studying how well the Justice Department and the USDA have met their respective obligations to enforce the antitrust laws specific to agriculture. A report from the GAO is expected this summer. Last year, Grassley was the only Republican senator to vote for an amendment offered by Sen. Paul Wellstone to place an 18-month moratorium on ag mergers.
Grassley is the third-most senior member of the Senate Judiciary committee, which oversees the Justice Department. He also serves on the Agriculture committee.