President Joe Biden’s choice to lead enforcement of competition laws at the Justice Department has won Senate approval as his administration pursues action against outsized market power it has condemned in several industries, including Big Tech, health care, airlines and agriculture.
The vote Tuesday was 68-29 to confirm Jonathan Kanter, an antitrust lawyer who has opposed tech giants in private practice, as assistant attorney general heading the Justice Department’s antitrust division. The position has been without a permanent head for nearly a year as Biden and his advisers sifted through a number of qualified candidates and then nominated Kanter in July to face Senate vetting.
Kanter, who also has experience in government at the Federal Trade Commission, will join the team of competition regulators and advisers that Biden has assembled to carry out an anti-monopoly agenda. They include Big Tech critic Lina Khan, elevated by Biden in June to head the FTC, and Tim Wu, another previously outspoken critic of Big Tech, who is a top White House adviser on technology and competition policy. The FTC, an independent regulatory agency, also oversees consumer protection and privacy in addition to competition issues.
As part of the efforts to increase competition, protect consumers and curb corporate dominance, Biden has ordered regulators to give greater scrutiny to mergers.