White House is taking on corporate mergers, landlord junk fees

U.S. Court News

The Biden administration on Wednesday proposed new guidelines for corporate mergers, took steps to disclose the junk fees charged by landlords and launched a crackdown on price-gouging in the food industry.

The announcements will be discussed as part of President Joe Biden’s scheduled meeting with the White House Competition Council, a group of officials established under a 2021 executive order.

The council has focused on creating more transparency for consumers and finding approaches to limit the concentration of industries in ways that the Biden administration says lead to higher prices and hurt the ability of start-ups and small businesses to grow. Republican lawmakers and some business group critics counter that the Democratic president’s effort will lead to greater regulatory costs that leave the economy worse off.

The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission are proposing revised guidelines for how they evaluate mergers. Their goal is to provide more clarity on the impact mergers can have on workers and to update the guidance for a digital economy that is shaped by companies such as Apple, Amazon, Alphabet and Meta.

The government first issued its guidance on mergers in 1968. Officials stressed that the new guidance conforms to the laws set by Congress and the precedents of court rulings.

Republican lawmakers have accused FTC Chair Lina Khan of “harassing” Twitter since it was acquired by billionaire Elon Musk. They say her push to break up the concentration of corporate power amounts to government interference in business practices.

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USCIS to Continue Implementing New Policy Memorandum on Notices to Appear

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is continuing to implement the June 28, 2018, Policy Memorandum (PM), Updated Guidance for the Referral of Cases and Issuance of Notices to Appear (NTAs) in Cases Involving Inadmissible and Deportable Aliens (PDF, 140 KB).

USCIS may issue NTAs as described below based on denials of I-914/I-914A, Application for T Nonimmigrant Status; I-918/I-918A, Petition for U Nonimmigrant Status; I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant (Violence Against Women Act self-petitions and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status petitions); I-730, Refugee/Asylee Relative Petitions when the beneficiary is present in the US; I-929, Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Nonimmigrant; and I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (with the underlying form types listed above).

If applicants, beneficiaries, or self-petitioners who are denied are no longer in a period of authorized stay and do not depart the United States, USCIS may issue an NTA. USCIS will continue to send denial letters for these applications and petitions to ensure adequate notice regarding period of authorized stay, checking travel compliance, or validating departure from the United States.