Warren, Ocasio-Cortez Propose Freezing Big Mergers Amid Pandemic

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Capitol Hill
The moratorium would halt mergers of big companies during the coronavirus pandemic.
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Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are planning to introduce legislation Tuesday that would suspend mergers and acquisitions for large companies during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The "Pandemic Anti-Monopoly Act" would put a moratorium on those actions until the FTC "determines that small businesses, workers, and consumers are no longer under severe financial distress" from the pandemic. 

It would impact businesses that make over $100 million in revenue; private equity companies, hedge funds and any businesses they may own; and businesses with an exclusive patent on products related to the pandemic, like personal protective equipment. 

Warren and Ocasio-Cortez teased the legislation in a video on social media. 

"One of the big concerns is that the folks with money, the big Wall Street investors, the private equity folks, are going to come in and buy up a bunch of these small businesses," Warren said.  "And we cannot allow that to happen because it makes our economy much more vulnerable when we rely on just a handful of big oligopolies or even close pseudo-monopolies." 

Democratic Rep. David Cicilline previously suggested a pause on mergers in the latest stimulus package. But regardless of who introduces the legislation, it will likely face opposition in the Republican-led Senate.