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Senate panel approves Trump’s nominees for antitrust agency

By on February 28, 2018

WASHINGTON –  The Senate Commerce Committee voted on Wednesday to approve President Donald Trump’s four nominees to the Federal Trade Commission, a spokeswoman for the committee said.

On a voice vote, the panel approved the nominations of antitrust lawyer Joe Simons to chair the commission. It also approved three others nominated to be FTC commissioners, Republicans Christine Wilson and Noah Phillips as well as Democrat Rohit Chopra, the spokeswoman said in an email.

It was not immediately clear when the full Senate would vote on the nominations. Trump has been slow in filling the FTC posts, leaving the agency in the hands of two Obama appointees for more than a year into his term.

A security person walks down the stairs at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, U.S., February 8, 2018. (REUTERS/ Leah Millis)

The FTC works with the U.S. Justice Department to enforce antitrust law and investigates companies accused of deceptive advertising.

At their confirmation hearing, Simons said that the FTC should be open to investigating big tech firms like Google or Facebook if they use their considerable clout inappropriately and should create a drug pricing task force to identify unusual price increases.

The FTC has been sharply criticized for settling with Google in early 2013 after a lengthy investigation into whether the company had manipulated search results to hurt rivals, among other offenses.

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer has recommended that the White House nominate one of his top aides, Rebecca Slaughter, to the second Democratic seat.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Susan Thomas)

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