Biden introduces administration’s plans to increase competition across industries

Politics

U.S. President Joe Biden pictured in London on September 18, 2022. Biden said in an interview broadcast on Sunday that U.S forces would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion, his most explicit statement so far on the issue.
Brendan Smialowski | Afp | Getty Images

President Joe Biden announced his administration’s plans to crack down on fees and increase competition across various industries on Monday.

During a speech at a meeting at the White House Competition Council, the president said unnecessary hidden fees, or “junk fees” were weighing down families’ budgets.

“Families shouldn’t have to pay these fees,” the president said. “It’s all taking money out of the pockets of average Americans.”

The Competition Council was created by the Biden administration to “promote competition with a goal of lowering prices for consumers and raising the wages of workers and encouraging innovation in the economy,” Biden said. ”We made some real progress,” he added.

Biden called out banks for charging overdraft fees on checking accounts, late fees for credit cards, hotel processing fees and termination fees charged by cell phone and internet providers.

He said that three-quarters of America’s 20 largest banks were getting rid of fees — which averaged $50 — for bounced checks due to the committee’s efforts. The changes will put the government on track to lowering overdraft fees by $3 billion a year, Biden said.

The council also took steps toward fairness in the meat and poultry industries by providing grants to small meat processors so they can compete with the four biggest meat producers that set the market prices.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who is a member of the Competition Council, said Monday that USDA “is focused on building new, fairer, and more resilient markets, protecting producers, and reducing food costs, and we are proving again today that we will use all tools at our disposal to do so.”

The Federal Communication Commission is also mandating cell phone and internet companies present fees to consumers at the time of purchase. The Department of Transportation announced new rules to require airlines and search websites to disclose hidden fees upfront, the president said.

Biden said the measures will help reduce inflation by lowering costs for families.

“When companies have to compete — it’s a simple proposition. When they have to compete, they sell — they make better products and — guess what? — the price goes down. It doesn’t go up when there’s competition,” Biden said.

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