(Bloomberg) -- The Justice Department’s antitrust enforcers need more funding to crack down on illegal mergers and conduct, unions, small business and advocacy groups told members of Congress Tuesday ahead of Attorney General Merrick Garland’s expected testimony.

In a pair of letters to the leaders of the House and Senate appropriations committees, the groups urged lawmakers to increase the antitrust funding for the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission.

The Biden administration has made antitrust enforcement a key focus of its economic policy and the two agencies have sued to block a record number of deals while also alleging that some of the country’s biggest companies like Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Corteva Inc. have violated the law.

In December 2022, Congress approved legislation to increase the fees in an effort to better support antitrust enforcement efforts. But earlier this year, lawmakers passed a spending bill for 2024 that would divert some of that money to other programs, leading to strong pushback from antitrust advocates and backers on Capitol Hill.

One of the letters was signed by prominent labor unions including Teamsters, Service Employees International Union and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union along with more than 30 other advocacy groups. The other letter included more than 30 trade associations and business groups spanning industries including emergency room doctors, grocers, restaurants, booksellers and others. 

Garland is set to testify before the House Appropriations Committee Tuesday. 

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