The vote to confirm President Donald Trump’s nominee to be the United States assistant attorney general for antitrust has been put on “hold” by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
The nominee, Makan Delrahim, cannot be confirmed until at least September, sources reportedly said. Warren’s hold blocks Delrahim’s nomination from advancing on the Senate floor, though his name was expected to be included along with other confirmations set to clear the Senate on Thursday.
The next move would be to put Delrahim’s nomination up for consideration in a stand-alone vote. To do that, 60 senators will have to support the move. According to anonymous sources cited by Bloomberg, Delrahim’s confirmation won’t be considered again until after the senators’ August break.
In early June, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved Delrahim’s nomination with a vote of 19-1. In April, Warren described Delrahim’s nomination as an indication that the Trump administration will “put the interests of giant corporations ahead of the American people,” on her Facebook page.
Warren’s disfavor comes from the fact that Delrahim worked at the law firm of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck from 2005 to 2017. His clients there included Anthem Inc., Qualcomm, and Comcast. He also lobbied the government to gain support for deals with companies like Google (in their $3.1 billion deal with DoubleClick Inc.) and Anthem Inc. (assisting with the $54 billion merger with Cigna Corp.), as well as for Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and Johnson & Johnson.
Warren has said consumer choice is being compromised by concentrated industries, in which the top four firms control a greater portion of the market. She says the trend is reducing consumer choice, hurting small businesses and damaging economic security for the middle class.
Warren called on the Justice Department (DOJ) to block more mergers, a sentiment supported by the Democrats’ economic agenda, “A Better Deal.” The agenda seeks tougher policies regarding mergers and monopolies, making it harder for companies to get approval for larger deals. It also proposes regular reviews to verify that merger conditions are working as intended.
The delay in Delrahim’s confirmation means he can’t be included in the DOJ lawyers’ investigation of the proposed $85.4 billion merger deal between AT&T and Time Warner.
Trump was not in favor of the deal while on the campaign trail, saying it puts “too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.”
While Warren fears the AT&T deal will lead to high prices and limited choices, the president concedes that the government needs to complete a review of the details. With Warren blocking Delrahim, the Iranian-American lawyer and lobbyist will be unable to weigh in.
Warren made headlines earlier last month when she called on her constituents to “persist” and “fight” the current administration.
“Keep in mind that right behind Trump is another Republican who does not share our values,” stated Warren at a town hall in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. “You get to fight because it’s the fight that matters.”
She answered questions on topics ranging from health care and political action to President Trump.
“If this is not the time to stand up and fight back, then I don’t know when it comes,” said Warren, who promised to fight to preserve everyone’s access to medical care
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