Joe Biden is expected to sign a broad executive order that will "promote competition across American industries" somehow by further micromanaging and regulating the competitive marketplace. The order, according to Bloomberg, includes 72 actions and recommendations that involve a dozen federal agencies, according to CNBC. A White House fact sheet published on Friday morning detailed some of the order's initiatives.
The order reportedly calls on regulators to step up their scrutiny of a wide range of companies, including technology, pharmaceutical and shipping companies.
First, the order is going to provide more scrutiny on technology mergers, focusing on “acquisition of nascent competitors, serial mergers, the accumulation of data, competition by ‘free’ products, and the effect on user privacy.” The order will also prompt new regulations "on everything from airline luggage fees to non-compete clauses", a White House fact sheet said. Biden is expected to sign the order on Friday while making prepared remarks about the U.S. economy.
Among the items included in the order is an appeal to the FCC to reinstate net neutrality rules that prevented ISPs from slowing delivery or specified content. Net neutrality was put into place under President Obama but was then repealed by President Trump.
The FTC will be called upon to help establish rules to prevent "unfair methods of competition" on internet marketplaces and to undo "restrictions on using independent repair shops or DIY repairs on devices", Bloomberg reported.
Biden is also expected to call on health officials to try and "drive down prescription drug prices" by importing medicine from Canada and working with individual states. The FTC will be urged to prevent pharmaceutical manufacturers from paying their generic counterparts to delay lower-price versions of medications from coming to market.
Hearing aids will also be allowed to be sold over the counter as a result of the bill, according to CNBC.
White House chief economic advisor Brian Deese said on CNBC this morning: “The impulse for this executive order is really around where can we encourage greater competition across the board.”
Deese concludes that the position of the tech giants has "led to a decline in innovation" and that the platforms have created "significant problems", including problems related to privacy, security and problems for small businesses entering the market.
The bill is "about consolidation more generally and the lack of competition when you have a limited set of market players," Deese said.