By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON, Jan 23 (Reuters) - The White House is set to hold the second meeting of its Competition Council on Monday, federal agencies said on Sunday.
Officials from two federal agencies told Reuters about the meeting and that their departments planned to attend. The White House did not confirm the meeting would take place but said President Joe Biden would meet on Monday "with members of his administration on efforts to lower prices for working families."
Biden signed in July a sweeping executive order to promote more competition in the U.S. economy, asking agencies to crack down on anti-competitive practices in sectors from agriculture to drugs and labor. That order created the council, which held its first meeting in September.
The order in July instructed antitrust agencies to focus on labor, healthcare, technology and agriculture. The White House has said the "lack of competition drives up prices for consumers and drives down wages for workers."
The council https://www.whitehouse.gov/competition is chaired by the head of the White House National Economic Council and includes a number of cabinet agencies including the Justice, Transportation, Commerce and Agriculture departments as well as the chairs of the Federal Trade Commission, Securities and Exchange Commission and Federal Communications Commission.
The Biden administration has taken steps to promote competition in many sectors, including the U.S. meat industry https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/lack-competition-us-meat-industry-amounts-exploitation-says-biden-2022-01-03.
The Justice Department in September sought to unwind an alliance between American Airlines and JetBlue Airways Corp.
And last week, U.S. antitrust enforcers announced plans to rewrite merger guidelines in order to better fight illegal deals.
The Justice Department and FTC said U.S. industries had become increasingly concentrated and a surge in merger filings in 2020 and 2021 signaled the situation will worsen.
The second council meeting would also come as Congress scrutinizes technology companies. Last week, a Senate committee approved a bill that would bar tech giants like Amazon.com from giving preference to their own businesses on their websites. (Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)