FTC Gets GOP Warning to Ramp Down

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), the chairs of the Senate Commerce Committee and House Energy & Commerce Committee, respectively, have called on other agencies not to vote any controversial items.

The pair had warned FCC Chairman Tom wheeler to ramp down his regulatory agenda last week. On Tuesday, the pair sent letter to both the chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission and the chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission with a similar message.

The message: Elections have consequences and one is that regulatory agencies should not to do anything that will likely be undone.

"“While the leadership of the [FTC] will soon change, congressional oversight of the Commission will continue," they wrote FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. "Therefore, any action taken by [FTC] before a new chairman is designated will receive particular scrutiny.  While we expect and encourage the [FTC] to continue its routine merger reviews and consumer protection enforcement in support of competition and on behalf of American consumers, we strongly encourage the [FTC] to avoid directing its attention and resources in the coming months on complex, partisan, or otherwise controversial items that the new Congress and new Administration will have an interest in reviewing," Upton and Thune wrote to the FTC (https://www.commerce.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/22cd7863-819a-4b7d-9...).

“The American people decided to make a change on November 8th – seeking a return to pro-growth, business-and-consumer-friendly regulations that put jobs first,” they said. “We urge the leaders of the FTC and CPSC to pay close attention to the wishes of the American people and refrain from that could create uncertainty for consumers and businesses.”

Wheeler pulled a quartet of items from the FCC's Nov. 27 public meeting, citing both the signal from the Hill and Republican FCC Commissioners' labeling of the items as controversial.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.