Handel’s SMARTER Act Passes House

May 9, 2018 \\ Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Legislation sponsored by U.S. Representative Karen Handel this afternoon passed the House by a vote of 230-185.  H.R. 5645, the Standard Merger and Acquisition Reviews Through Equal Rules (SMARTER) Act, brings consistency to the federal review process for mergers as recommended by DOJ’s Anti-Trust Modernization Commission (AMC).

“The SMARTER Act is a much-needed piece of legislation that will harmonize and modernize our antitrust procedures,” Rep. Handel said.  “This bill also strengthens the process by injecting greater consistency, more transparency, and enhanced consumer protection when mergers and acquisitions occur. “

Currently, the FTC and DOJ share responsibility for reviewing proposed mergers. However, these agencies possess drastically different procedures – meaning businesses are held to conflicting standards depending on the agency reviewing the case.

“And by focusing on consistency, the SMARTER Act does not weaken or undermine our antitrust review process, and it does not prevent or hinder either agency from conducting a full and thorough review,” Handel concluded.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy had this to say about Handel’s bill:  “Reducing regulations and establishing business certainty have been key drivers of our economy’s expansion.  Rep. Handel’s SMARTER Act will help streamline the oversight process for mergers or acquisitions, which give American businesses opportunities for continued investment in jobs and products.”

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Goodlatte added, “Mergers have the potential to significantly impact our nation’s economy and the livelihood of millions of Americans. For this reason, we must ensure the review process for proposed mergers is fair, transparent and predictable.

“This commonsense legislation harmonizes the merger review process to ensure that companies face the same standards and processes regardless of whether the Federal Trade Commission or the Justice Department reviews the merger. I applaud Representative Karen Handel for her leadership on this issue.”