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Senators propose to ban FTC “zombie votes”

Republicans’ legislation would require the FTC to enact a rule prohibiting a commissioner’s votes from having any effect after he or she leaves. the agency.

Utah Senator Mike Lee, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Antitrust subcommittee, and John Thune, GOP Senator No. 2, are co-sponsors with Roy Blunt of Missouri, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

The backstory: The FTC has been split 2-2 between Republicans and Democrats since Chopra’s departure, a standoff that has hampered some of Khan’s priorities and could hamper the agency’s decisions on issues such as his antitrust probe into Amazon.

On his last full day as FTC commissioner, Chopra proposed and voted on more than 20 potential policy, business and regulatory statements. Both Chopra and the FTC have defended the legality of his votes, saying it has been FTC policy since 1984 to count the votes of outgoing commissioners, unless they are replaced by a vote of their successor.

So far, the agency has only used one of Chopra’s votes, issuing a policy statement on October 25 restricting some mergers with a 3-2 vote. The FTC’s two GOP commissioners, Noah Phillips and Christine Wilson, lambasted the FTC for using what they called Chopra’s “zombie vote”.

Bedoya delay: Several GOP senators have raised concerns about this practice, asking Alvaro Bedoya – the choice of President Joe Biden to replace Chopra – for his views on the use of his predecessor’s votes. Bedoya, a Georgetown Law School privacy expert, said he needed to research the issue further to form an opinion.

In the meantime, Republicans are moving slowly for Bedoya’s nomination.

On Wednesday, all GOP members of the Senate Trade Committee voted against its confirmation, effectively blocking the panel. The 14-14 vote means Democrats will have to take extra time in the Senate and conduct a series of three votes in order to confirm Bedoya to the FTC – time the chamber likely won’t have this month because of his order. of the day is already filled with essential elements.

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