Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) released the following statement after the Committee advanced seven consumer protection bills to the full House of Representatives:
“The consumer protection bills reported to the House of Representatives today will help fight one of the most timely and disturbing trends gripping the country right now: the growing prevalence of fraud and scams that prey on people already hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic. These are good, bipartisan pieces of legislation that will curtail the number of scams perpetrated each day, protect our senior citizens and strengthen accountability. Other bills will enhance product safety, advance new consumer protection technologies and make huge strides in protecting racehorses and jockeys. I thank all the sponsors of these bills for their hard work and bipartisan collaboration and I look forward to the full House voting on these bills soon.”
H.R. 8134, the “Consumer Product Safety Inspection Enhancement Act,” which was introduced by Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Jeff Duncan (R-SC), would amend the Consumer Product Safety Act to enhance the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) ability to identify unsafe consumer products entering the United States, especially e-commerce shipments entering under the de minimis value exemption. Specifically, the bill would require the CPSC to enhance the targeting, surveillance and screening of consumer products. The bill would also require the CPSC to assess a sampling of certain shipments and report to Congress on the Commission’s efforts and needs to effectively stop violative products from entering the United States. The bill was passed by voice vote.
H.R. 8128, the “AI for Consumer Product Safety Act,” which was introduced by Reps. Jerry McNerney (D-CA) and Michael Burgess (R-TX), would direct the CPSC to establish a pilot program to explore the use of artificial intelligence for at least one of the following purposes: 1) tracking injury trends; 2) identifying consumer product hazards; 3) monitoring the retail marketplace for the sale of recalled consumer products; or 4) identifying unsafe imported consumer products. An amendment in the nature of a substitute (AINS) that was passed also changed the title of the bill to the “Consumer Safety Technology Act,” and adds text based on H.R. 8153, the Blockchain Innovation Act and H.R. 2154, the Digital Taxonomy Act. The bill was passed, as amended, by voice vote.
H.R. 8132, the “American Competitiveness Of a More Productive Emerging Tech Economy Act” or the “American COMPETE Act,” which was introduced by Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Bobby Rush (D-IL), directs the Department of Commerce (DOC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to study and report to Congress on the state of the artificial intelligence, quantum computing, blockchain and the new and advanced materials industries in the U.S. The bill would also require the DOC to study and report to Congress on the state of the Internet of Things (IoT) and IoT manufacturing industries, as well as the three-dimensional printing industry and the effect of unmanned delivery services on U.S. businesses conducting interstate commerce. Finally, the bill would require the FTC to study and report to Congress on how artificial intelligence may be used to address online harms, including scams directed at senior citizens, disinformation or exploitative content. The bill was passed by voice vote.
H.R. 2610, the “Stop Senior Scams Act,” which was introduced by Reps. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) and Tim Walberg (R-MI), would, as amended, establish a Senior Scams Prevention Advisory Group (“Advisory Group”) at the FTC. The Advisory Group would collect existing information and guidance on identifying and preventing scams affecting seniors and create improved model educational materials and programs. The bill would direct the FTC to make the improved materials public and encourage their use and distribution. The bill would also amend the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act to include information, findings and recommendations from the Advisory Council in the annual report to Congress. The AINS that was passed also changed the title of the bill to the “Fraud and Scam Reduction Act” and added text from four additional bills: H.R. 2301, the Seniors Fraud Prevention Act of 2019; H.R. 7699, the Protecting Seniors from Emergency Scams Act; H.R. 8127, the Protecting Indian Tribes from Scams Act, and H.R. 8152, the FTC Collaboration Act. The bill was passed, as amended, by voice vote.
H.R. 6435, the “Combating Pandemic Scams Act of 2020,” which was introduced by Reps. Buddy Carter (R-GA), Annie Kuster (D-NH), Richard Hudson (R-NC) and Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), would require the FTC to inform the public about mail, telemarketing and internet scams related to COVID-19 and disseminate information on how to report COVID-19-related scams to the appropriate agency. The FTC would also be required to establish a national database for such information. The bill was passed by voice vote.
H.R. 8121, the “COVID-19 Home Safety Act,” which was introduced by Reps. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) and Rodney L. Davis (R-IL), would require the CPSC to study and report to Congress on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on injuries and deaths associated with consumer products. An AINS was passed changing the title of the bill to the “Pandemic Effects on Home Safety and Tourism Act” and adding text from H.R. 8122, the Protecting Tourism in the United States Act. The bill was passed, as amended, by voice vote.
H.R. 1754, the “Horseracing Integrity Act of 2019,” which was introduced by Reps. Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Andy Barr (R-KY), would establish a uniform national anti-doping and medication program to protect the health and welfare of racehorses and jockeys. An AINS was passed that provides federal recognition and enforcement power to the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority, an independent, non-governmental regulatory body, for purposes of developing and implementing both a horse racing anti-doping and medication control program and a racetrack safety program. The bill was passed as amended by 46-5.
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