WASHINGTON—The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Lina Khan for a seat on the Federal Trade Commission, and President Biden tapped her to lead the agency, a post that will allow her to pursue aggressive enforcement of U.S. antitrust and consumer-protection laws.
Ms. Khan, a 32-year-old Columbia University law professor who has been a vocal critic of powerful technology companies, was confirmed on a 69-28 vote. With her confirmation secured, Mr. Biden immediately designated her as FTC chairwoman, a move that caps the ascendancy of a progressive camp that favors far-reaching changes to antitrust enforcement.
Ms. Khan has been the leader of that movement, which believes the current decadeslong approach has done too little to restrain corporate dominance and stop mergers that have eroded competition. She has argued in favor of blocking more mergers, aggressively attacking monopolistic practices and potentially breaking up some of America’s largest companies.
While Democrats across the board have argued that antitrust enforcement has been too lax, they have been split on just how far the pendulum should swing. Some have questioned whether a wholesale philosophical shift is needed. Ms. Khan’s leading FTC role signals which way Mr. Biden is leaning in that debate, a warning shot to Silicon Valley and dominant firms in other industries.
The FTC scrutinizes proposed corporate mergers and an array of business practices to determine whether they illegally suppress competition in the marketplace. The commission also has a broad consumer-protection mission, targeting scams and other types of unfair or deceptive business conduct that harm the public.