Testimony Before U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Modernizing the FTC

Daniel Castro May 24, 2016
May 24, 2016

In testimony before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, Daniel Castro argued that while the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has long provided valuable oversight and consumer protection, there is an opportunity for Congress to modernize the agency so that it better protects consumers from harm while minimizing regulatory costs and better enabling robust innovation in the U.S. economy. There are a number of actions Congress can take to make the FTC more innovation friendly and reduce unnecessary regulatory costs. These include limiting FTC enforcement to cases where there is concrete consumer harm, requiring the FTC to use fair and consistent processes for rulemaking, requiring the FTC to be more transparent about it priorities and investigations, requiring the FTC to prioritize actions that result in actual consumer harm, and avoiding lengthy investigations and consent decrees. In some cases, the FTC should be provided additional authority to protect consumer interests. In particular, Congress should authorize the FTC to take action against companies that use non-disparagement clauses to unfairly silence consumers, eliminate the common carrier exemption in the FTC Act, and give the FTC authority to hold informal bipartisan meetings without triggering complex open meeting requirements.