House passes bill to revive FTC authority to recover money for consumers

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The House passed a bill Tuesday largely along party lines that aims to revive the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) authority to return money to constituents harmed by companies found to engage in deceptive practices. 

The Consumer Protection and Recovery Act passed with widespread support from Democrats. 

Republicans opposed to the bill argued on the floor before that the legislation was incomplete at the time of the vote. 

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House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) said before the vote, however that the bill introduced by Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.) “is not ideological — this is practical,” and urged his colleagues to support it. 

“Today the House took decisive action to restore the FTC’s authority to help return money to consumers and businesses that have been defrauded by scammers,” Pallone and Consumer Protection and Commerce subcommittee Chair Jan SchakowskyJanice (Jan) Danoff SchakowskyCori Bush introduces bill to fund ‘health-centered approach’ to public safety Public option fades with little outcry from progressives Online school raises new concerns about cyberbullying MORE (D-Ill) said in a joint statement. 

The passage of the bill comes after the Supreme Court unanimously ruled earlier this year that the agency did not have authority under a provision known as Section 13(b) to obtain equitable monetary relief. 

FTC Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, who served as acting chair of the agency before Chair Lina KhanLina KhanOn The Money: Democrats reach deal on .5T target | Biden rallies Democrats: ‘We’re going to get this done’ Hillicon Valley: Facebook petitions for FTC chair’s recusal in antitrust case | Olivia Rodrigo teams with White House to push for vaccines on social media | Twitter removing ‘Fleets’ function in August Facebook petitions for FTC chair’s recusal in antitrust case MORE was approved to the agency and named chair, had urged lawmakers to revive the agency’s authority. 

Slaughter testified before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee in April that the Supreme Court’s decisions had “significantly limited” the agency’s “primary and most effective tool for providing refunds to harmed consumers.” 

The Biden administration issued a statement in support of the House bill Monday.

“The Administration applauds this step to expressly authorize the FTC to seek permanent injunctions and pursue equitable relief for all violations of law enforced by the Commission and ensure that the cost of illegal practices falls on bad actors, not consumers targeted by illegal scams,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement.

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