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ICYMI: Rodgers, Wicker, and Phillips say Congress—not the FTC—Should Develop a National Privacy Framework


10.01.21

Washington, D.C. — Congress can and must work to develop a national privacy framework. In a recent Op-ed for the Washington Examiner, Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission Noah Phillips argue that the time is now for Congress to provide durable, fine-tuned privacy legislation that will serve Americans for decades to come.  

BOTTOMLINE 

Congress must come together to enact national privacy standards and ensure all Americans are protected equally. 

DEMOCRATS PREFER POLITICS OVER PRIVACY 

Unfortunately, Committee Democrats have repeatedly rejected requests for a real Committee process that create a national privacy framework.  

They’ve abdicated their legislative responsibility to Chair Khan to act unilaterally on a so-called privacy rule and handed over a $1 billion war chest through the Build More Inflation Act.  There are no guardrails on how these taxpayer dollars will be spent — they will be used in a unilateral fashion against every sector on matters that have nothing to do with protecting Americans’ personal data. 

It is clear that Democrats in Congress will not even conduct oversight on how the Chair is dismantling longstanding bipartisan FTC consensus as power is consolidated and other Commissioners are cut out of the decision-making and accountability process. 

This is unacceptable, and betrays longstanding congressional efforts to develop a bipartisan federal privacy framework that protects all Americans equally. 

Excerpts from the Washington Examiner Op-ed by Leader Rodgers, Senator Wicker, and FTC Commissioner Noah Phillips: 

In recent months, some have proposed that the Federal Trade Commission take up privacy reforms unilaterally through executive rulemaking. This would be a step in the wrong direction. America needs a national consumer privacy law, but such a law must be the product of Congress. 

“The founders designed the executive branch to act quickly and nimbly to address immediate problems, recognizing that Congress would need time to build consensus before adopting sweeping policies for the nation. The legislative process may be slower than some would prefer, but that is no basis for executive agencies to usurp the people’s elected representatives and the powers granted them by the Constitution. Congress long ago could have granted agencies the authority to write comprehensive national privacy rules, as in other policy areas — but it has never done so. Attempting to rewrite privacy law by executive fiat would be a blatant overreach that would almost certainly invite legal challenges.” 

[…] 

“Every person and business in the United States has an interest in the outcome of these deliberations. It is precisely because the stakes are so high that rules cannot be the result of an agency edict. A national law must be the product of debate and compromise among the people’s representatives, and we are committed to seeing this process through. 

“Once Congress determines the path forward on privacy, the FTC will be the right agency to carry out the law. The FTC’s smart and dedicated staff have been tackling these thorny questions for decades, and today the commission is the most effective privacy enforcer in the world.” 

CLICK HERE to read the full Op-ed.  

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