Speed Reads

big business breakups

Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez partner to block major mergers during coronavirus pandemic

Two progressive powerhouses are teaming up to elevate a big piece of their platform during the coronavirus crisis.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) are working on a bill that would halt major mergers and acquisitions until the financial crisis stemming from COVID-19 comes to an end, NBC News reports via a summary of the act. The Pandemic Anti-Monopoly Act falls in line with Warren's former presidential platform, and will perhaps bring the big-business breakup conversation back into focus as former Vice President Joe Biden gets closer to securing the Democratic nomination.

The act would affect businesses with more than $100 million in revenue or financial firms with market capitalization of more than $100 million, as well as private equity companies and hedge funds, NBC News reports. Companies with exclusive patents on products considered essential during the crisis, such as personal protection equipment, will also be subject to the proposal. Mergers can resume once the FTC "determines that small businesses, workers, and consumers are no longer under severe financial distress," the act says.

Warren said the act was necessary as small businesses struggle to survive amid the COVID-19 pandemic. "Large companies and private equity vultures are circling for a chance to gobble up these small businesses and increase their already immense economic power," Warren said in a statement to NBC News. Ocasio-Cortez similarly cited "decades-long consequences" that will arise if big companies get bigger, saying "with less competition, the whole country will see job loss and higher costs for consumers."

The duo plans to unveil the bill on Tuesday, though it a faces tough reception in the GOP-led Senate.