A House Judiciary subcommittee next week will debate whether to give the Justice Department more formal authority in approving airline alliances, a task currently left up to the Transportation Department. Some Democrats want to see the change as part of an effort to toughen antitrust regulation of those alliances. But the move would likely meet resistance in the Senate, where Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., has warned that restricting airline alliances would endanger open skies agreements agreements with the EU. Some 15,000 jobs would be lost if such alliances were banned, according to the Air Transport Association.

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