Hearing of the Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security Subcommittee of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee - Opening Statement of Sen. Nelson, Hearing on "Oversight of the Federal Trade Commission"


Date: Nov. 27, 2018
Location: Washington, DC

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this hearing. The FTC is America's premier consumer protection agency. The Federal Trade Commission Act, passed in 1914, serves as the bedrock of American consumer protection law. The agency is tasked with policing and promoting competitive markets and with protecting consumers from unfair or deceptive acts or practices.

Despite its important mission and enormous mandate, the FTC remains a relatively small agency.

For years, I have consistently advocated that the FTC be provided more resources so that it can effectively do its job -- particularly during an age when the American economy is becoming increasingly digitized and complex.

With a little over a thousand full-time employees, the FTC can only do so much to police a nineteen-trillion-dollar economy. It is my hope that Congress will finally step up to the plate and do the right thing by providing the FTC with increased funding and personnel to police the marketplace and protect American consumers from a myriad of scams, frauds and corporate practices that fleece them of their hard-earned money.

Let me also express my hope that the FTC continues to operate in a bipartisan, consensus manner. The commission has a long, proud history of bipartisanship. It's a tradition from which other independent agencies should draw. Too often, agencies like the Federal Communications Commissionw(FCC) or the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) get mired in competing, individual ideological agendas. By and large, the FTC has avoided this kind of dysfunction, which has served the American consumer well. Quite frankly, Congress can also learn from the FTC's history of bipartisan deliberation and cooperation.

Lastly, to the FTC commissioners before us here today, thank you for your public service. It's been a privilege and honor to have worked closely with you during my four years as ranking member of the Commerce Committee.

Thank you again, Mr. Chairman, and I look forward to hearing from the commissioners.