FSGG Approps Bill Must Support Enforcers, Not Kneecap Them
Washington, D.C.— With Congress set to debate the Fiscal Year 2024 Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) appropriations bill today—a bill containing several radical amendments to gut the funding of critical agencies and weaken important competition authorities—the American Economic Liberties released the following statement:
“This appropriations bill is ridden with radical, dangerous amendments clearly written to score points with dominant corporations at the expense of the American people,” said Morgan Harper, Director of Policy and Advocacy at the American Economic Liberties Project. “There is no justification for hampering agency efforts to fight fraud and scams of senior citizens, or protect children from unsafe products. There is no way to spin an amendment seeking to cut funding for the CFPB—a champion for everyday Americans against wrongdoing by powerful financial actors—to ‘zero.’ This week, members of congress must oppose these shameless amendments.”
The bill, which would reduce programmatic funding by nearly 60%, includes amendments taking aim at critical functions of competition and consumer protection authorities. Some of the most concerning include:
- Prohibit funding the FTC to issue Unfair Competition rulemakings (#39, Rep. Fitzgerald)
- Prohibits funding towards amendments to to Part 803 of the premerger notification rules that implement The Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and to the Premerger Notification and Report Form and Instructions (#40, Rep. Fitzgerald)
- Prohibits funding for the FTC to enforce Sec. 5 of the FTC Act in a manner that is inconsistent with the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act (#42, Rep. Fitzgerald)
- Prohibits funding for the FTC’s suspension of early termination to premerger notification filings (#44, Rep. Fitzgerald)
- Prohibits funds from being used to finalize any rule or regulation that has resulted in or is likely to result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more (#87, Rep. Commack)
- Decrease funding for the Federal Trade Commission by $50,000,000 (#100, Rep. Molinaro)
- Prohibits the CFPB from implementing work arrangements which allow for routine telework (#107, Rep. Hageman)
- Prohibits funds from being used to implement the CFPB-DOJ “Joint Statement on Fair Lending and Credit Opportunities for Noncitizen Borrowers under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act” (#115, Rep. Hageman)
- Reduces CFPB funding to $0 (#122, Rep. Perry)
- Prohibits funds from being used by the Federal Trade Commission to conduct outbound exchanges with foreign counterparts (#124, Rep. Duncan)
- Prohibits the Federal Trade Commission from using funds to host international training assistance programs (#125, Rep. Duncan)
- Prohibits the use of funds to promulgate new major rules if OMB determines that the regulation is likely to result in a significant impact on the economy, a major increase in prices for consumers, or adverse effects on American global competition (#127, Rep. Graves)
- Reduces the amount for Salaries and Expenses of the FTC to FY19 levels (#147, Rep. Perry)
- Eliminates the limitation on the fair market value of all assets of a small business concern for purposes of determining the eligibility of participants in the the Small Business Administration 8a program to continue participating in such program (#176, Rep. Elzey)
- Prohibits the FTC from engaging with foreign enforcers as part of any merger review, investigation, or enforcement action (#184, Rep. Fitzgerald)
The bill, however, does include a few positive amendments to strengthen and improve competition authorities and enforcement:
- Strikes Section 532 and 533 of the current bill, which were toxic provisions that restrict the FTC’s use of its Unfair Methods of Competition authority and its use of prior approvals in merger review (#166, Reps. Neguse and Buck).
- Increases funding that the Commission may retain from fees collected for premerger notification filings under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act (#171, Rep. Neguse).
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The American Economic Liberties Project works to ensure America’s system of commerce is structured to advance, rather than undermine, economic liberty, fair commerce, and a secure, inclusive democracy. Economic Liberties believes true economic liberty means entrepreneurs and businesses large and small succeed on the merits of their ideas and hard work; commerce empowers consumers, workers, farmers, and engineers instead of subjecting them to discrimination and abuse from financiers and monopolists; foreign trade arrangements support domestic security and democracy; and wealth is broadly distributed to support equitable political power.