Washington, D.C. — Today, House Energy and Commerce Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Republican Leader for Consumer Protection and Commerce stood together with their Republican colleagues in strong opposition to H.R. 2668—the “Consumer Protection and Recovery Act”—for irresponsibly expanding the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) authority and not taking the opportunity to establish a national privacy framework.
Republicans lawmakers raised a number of legitimate concerns about the bill, which ultimately falls short of protecting Americans and their personal information.
Leader Rodgers said: “My biggest concern with this legislation –It fails to prioritize due process and ensuring proper analysis.”
“I do think we can all agree that both Republicans and Democrats want to protect people from malicious actors wand that the FTC should have the necessary tools to do so.
“H.R. 2668 grants FTC brand new authorities under section 13(b) of the FTC Act, to seek financial penalties for what it alleges is fraud and anti-competitive behavior.
“It does so without the inclusion of guardrails to protect due process.
“This was also a huge missed opportunity to enact a national privacy standard.
“Last Congress, Senator Wicker rightfully identified privacy and 13(b) reform as policies that could easily be legislated together—and should.
“Even this bill’s sponsor—Mr. Cardenas—acknowledged his effort to include a national privacy standard with a legislative fix for 13b.
“Congress has a responsibility to do our job. We cannot have California dictating policy for the other 49 states.
“If my friends are so concerned about urgently granting the FTC with new authorities to protect people, why aren’t we urgently passing a national standard which we all agree will protect their data privacy?
“This legislation fails to address much needed FTC reforms to increase transparency, establish a national privacy framework, and ensure due process.
“There should be no lack of will to take on all fraudsters, scammers, and abusers of our personal information. Congress must sit down, work this out, and move comprehensive FTC reform legislation forward together.”
Subcommittee Republican Leader Bilirakis said:
“I hoped to stand before you today urging my colleagues to support this legislation. Sadly, I must oppose because the expansive authority included here goes way beyond the new agency power I and my colleagues were willing to put into statute to ensure the FTC has the ability to get financial restitution to constituents who were victimized by scams as quickly as possible.
“Instead, this bill before us will provide the FTC with new authorities that far outpace the need supported by a consensus of the FTC Commissioners. Even more concerning, as we heard from the former head of the FTC’s Consumer Protection Bureau testify before our Subcommittee, it signals a return to the broad overreach we saw with the FTC in previous decades – a situation so bad that a Democratic Congress crippled the FTC’s funding and stripped it of its authority at that time. But alas, here we are again, with history repeating itself.
“Separately, H.R. 2668 has been riddled with process fouls and has ignored well-founded concerns from Republicans including the lack of needed transparency reform and the lack of a national privacy standard, which will protect consumers.
“I have heard my colleagues claim this bill only establishes a statute of limitations, but that simply is not the case. In fact, if you listened to the rhetoric from my Democratic colleagues, you would believe this bill was narrowly targeted at fraudster and scammers, but that’s not the case. Under this bill, the FTC could obtain billions in penalties without ever proving that the alleged company ever knew or intended to mislead at all.”
“As I have said before, Republicans and Democrats both want to protect consumers. I have stayed at the table to negotiate this and even offered an amendment that went a step farther than the one offered at Committee. Unfortunately, it fell on deaf ears and the Rules Committee did not make my or any other Republican amendment in order today — again ignoring our serious concerns.
“To my colleagues, let’s work together and properly empower the FTC to protect constituents and pass a national privacy standard.”