By David Ingram
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
told Congress on Wednesday that his antitrust enforcers would go
on targeting traditional industries such as agriculture,
airlines, communications and healthcare.
Holder spoke at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about
Department of Justice operations, his first appearance before
lawmakers since President Barack Obama pledged to keep Holder in
his job into a second term.
The department's antitrust policies are under particular
scrutiny because there is a newly installed chief of the
Antitrust Division, Assistant Attorney General William Baer.
Holder did not comment on specific deals pending before the
Antitrust Division, such as the proposed merger of AMR Corp's
American Airlines and US Airways Group.
In questioning Holder, Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota
Democrat, mentioned several industries facing potential scrutiny
and asked Holder to describe the direction of antitrust policy.
Holder named the four industries - agriculture, airlines,
communications and healthcare - and added, "all things that
impact the American consumers."
"What we've tried to do in the Antitrust Division is to
focus our efforts in such a way that we benefit the American
people with regard to lower prices, more competition," he said.
When the government finds illegal activity, "we will be
there," he added.
Klobuchar is the new chairwoman of the Senate's antitrust
subcommittee. She succeeded Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, who retired
from the Senate two months ago.
Her subcommittee is scheduled to hold a hearing this month
on the proposed American Airlines-US Airways deal, which would
create the largest U.S. airline.
Follow us on Twitter @ReutersLegal | Like us on Facebook