Huge win for progressives as Lina Khan takes helm at FTC

Published on June 16, 2021 3:47 AM


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President Joe Biden elevated Amazon critic and anti-monopoly advocate Lina Khan to chair the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday, hours after the Senate confirmed her by a 69-28 vote.

She was sworn in just as quickly, the FTC said that evening.

The surprise move gives progressive Democrats both the reins and a majority at the antitrust agency, spurring hopes among critics of Silicon Valley's giants for a new assertiveness from the FTC, which is already pursuing an antitrust probe of Amazon and waging a lawsuit that seeks to break up Facebook's social networking monopoly.

Plans for Khan's elevation as chair came to light when Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) announced the news during a Senate Judiciary antitrust hearing Tuesday afternoon, before any announcement from the White House. Khan replaced Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, who has served as acting FTC chair since January and remains a member of the commission.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) praised President Joe Biden's designation of Khan as chair as "tremendous news."

"With Chair Khan at the helm, we have a huge opportunity to make big, structural change by reviving antitrust enforcement and fighting monopolies that threaten our economy, our society, and our democracy," Warren said.

But Republicans blasted the White House's decision to wait until after Tuesday's confirmation vote to announce its intent to ...