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The White House Is Working On A Plan To Push Back Against Powerful Companies

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National Economic Council director Brian Deese and White House press secretary Jen Psaki take questions from reporters on July 2.
Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

National Economic Council director Brian Deese and White House press secretary Jen Psaki take questions from reporters on July 2.

The White House will unveil an executive order in the next few days aimed at promoting competition in parts of the economy — such as airlines and agriculture — where a handful of large companies exert a lot of market power, press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.

The order will direct government agencies to issue rules that are intended, according to the Biden administration, to create a more equitable market for consumers.

Specifically, it would direct the Department of Agriculture to a make it easier for farmers to fight back against corporate agriculture companies, bring claims under the Packers and Stockyards Act, and aim to prevent chicken processors from underpaying farmers, the source said. The proposed changes would also protect farmers from retaliation when they speak out about bad behavior.

The president will also encourage the Federal Trade Commission to allow farmers to repair their farming equipment as they choose, rather than being limited by tractor manufacturers that prevent farmers from using independent repair shops through the use of proprietary tools, software and diagnostics that force farmers to use dealers for repairs.

Psaki said the White House plans to direct the USDA to clarify that meat can only be labeled as a "Product of the USA" when the livestock is raised in the United States — and that the label cannot be used when meat is merely processed in the United States.

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The executive order is a broad measure that intends to deal with competition across multiple industries. The White House's thinking is that antitrust measures, such as this executive order, will help drive more durable economic growth in the long run.

The order will also direct the Department of Transportation to create a series of rules the White House says ought to create more transparency and assistance for airline passengers.

"These rulemakings will specifically ensure that if a passenger pays to check a bag, they should get that fee back if the bag doesn't arrive on time," Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council told reporters on Friday. "Also, if the passenger pays for a service like wi-fi, and it doesn't actually work, that you will get that fee back quickly."

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