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Readout of the Second Meeting of the White House Competition Council

January 24, 2022

This afternoon, the President met with the White House Competition Council in the East Room to discuss actions they have taken to deliver concrete cost savings to American families and to discuss plans for further action over the weeks, months, and years ahead.

The July 9 Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy established the Competition Council to drive forward the Administration's whole-of-government effort to promoting competition. Its purpose is to coordinate progress on the Order's 72 initiatives to restore competition in the economy, to collaborate on addressing pressing competition problems across the economy, and to find new ways of delivering concrete benefits to America's consumers, workers, farmers, and small businesses. The Council is comprised of ten Cabinet members and the heads of seven independent agencies.

The President commended the Council's members for meeting each deadline set forth in the Executive Order so far. He emphasized that, thanks to the Council's actions across a broad range of industries, American families will feel more breathing room in their budgets over the coming months. The President highlighted several examples, including:

  • New proposed rules from the Food and Drug Administration that would make hearing aids available over-the-counter, lowering their cost from thousands of dollars to hundreds of dollars for the millions of Americans suffering from hearing loss.
  • Progress on the "right to repair" that is making it cheaper and easier for Americans to fix the products they already own. Following the Order's support for the right to repair, the Federal Trade Commission unanimously announced that it will ramp up enforcement against illegal repair restrictions. Since then, large firms have voluntarily announced changes to their policies to make it easier for consumers to repair their own electronics.
  • Agencies with merger oversight authority have ramped up their efforts to challenge or block mergers that are bad for the American economy and for families' pocketbooks. For example, the Department of Justice recently blocked an insurance mega-merger that would have raised insurance costs for consumers and businesses alike.

The President made clear that the Council's work is about steadily making changes that will promote competition—resulting in lower prices, fairer wages, and more innovation across the economy.

To that end, the Council's members used the rest of the meeting to discuss a broad agenda for action. Each member agency spoke to their top competition priorities for the coming months. For example:

  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced an initiative to save consumers tens of billions of dollars in junk fees in banking, credit cards, and mortgages.
  • The Department of Transportation described efforts to promote consumer choice and protect consumers by ensuring travelers can tell the true cost of air travel.
  • The Federal Communications Commission described efforts to lower broadband prices by preventing landlords and providers from entering sweetheart deals that shut out broadband competition in apartment buildings, and by adopting a Broadband Nutrition Label that helps Americans comparison shop.
  • The Department of Agriculture explained its plan to expand competition in meat processing by funding new and independent processors and strengthening rules to protect farmers and ranchers.

Each member described a robust agenda to promote competition—actions that will help reduce the prices people pay for everyday things, from internet plans, to groceries, to shipping costs, to vacation travel.

In-person participants in today's meeting included:

  • Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen
  • Attorney General Merrick Garland
  • Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
  • Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo
  • Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh
  • Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra
  • Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg
  • Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget Shalanda Young
  • Chair of the Federal Trade Commission Lina Khan
  • Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission Gary Gensler
  • Chair of the Federal Communications Commission Jessica Rosenworcel
  • Chair of the Surface Transportation Board Marty Oberman
  • Chair of the Federal Maritime Commission Daniel Maffei
  • Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Rohit Chopra
  • Acting Chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Rostin Behnam
  • Assistant to the President and Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors Cecilia Rouse
  • Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and Director of the National Economic Council Brian Deese (Chair)

Joseph R. Biden, Readout of the Second Meeting of the White House Competition Council Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/354224

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