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The National Grocers Association (NGA) yesterday said that it was heartened by a bipartisan discussion of competition policy that took place during a House Judiciary Committee meeting last week at which Federal Trade Commissioner Chair Lina Khan testified.

According to NGA's statement, "Key Republicans and Democrats found some rare common ground in their lines of questioning. 

"Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-California) and Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) led a substantive discussion on competition policy and the bottom-line impact on America’s independent grocers and the shoppers who depend on them.

"Rep. Lofgren pressed Chair Khan to use the Robinson-Patman Act as a tool to check exponential consolidation and buyer-power abuses in the marketplace.

"Rep. Massie. chairman of the Antitrust Subcommittee, said, 'My constituents aren’t contacting me worried about mergers between tech companies. But one thing I’ve been contacted about multiple times is the small independent grocers feel like there are monopolistic practices being used against them.' He then showed Chair Khan a bipartisan letter he wrote with Antitrust Subcommittee Ranking Member Rep. Lou Correa (D-California) pushing the FTC for a closed-door briefing on the commission’s investigation into grocery practices.

"'It’s encouraging to know that key members of Congress are asking the right questions. We hope that they, and the FTC, will follow through with action, bolstering and updating the nation’s antitrust laws for the 21st Century,' said Chris Jones, NGA senior vice president of government relations and counsel."

NGA continues to make the point that "dominant food retailers have gotten exponentially bigger over the past few decades, and they routinely use that power to their own advantage — often to the disadvantage of independent stores that serve rural and urban areas of this country. The Robinson-Patman Act was passed to level the playing field for stores big and small, ensuring free and fair competition that benefits everyone from Main Street to Wall Street."