Antitrust and the 99th Congress

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After considering a broad array of proposed reforms of the U.S. antitrust laws, the 99th Congress adjourned on October 25 without passing any major legislation in the area.  In one sense, the Congress was disappointing for those favoring antitrust reform. However, it may have been more successful for reformers than at first appeared.  Although no major reforms were enacted, the formal proposal by the Reagan Administration of a set of reform measures was itself a major step, and established a foundation for further debate in the coming years.  Moreover, advocates of more restrictive antitrust rules failed to achieve any measurable success. Despite congressional grumblings about the Administration’s “lax” antitrust enforcement, no legislation to turn back the clock on antitrust policy progressed significantly.