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Pallone & Schakowsky Celebrate Consumer Protection and Commerce Bills Included in Omnibus

Dec 21, 2020
Press Release

Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Chair Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) released the following joint statement today after the House of Representatives passed an end of the year omnibus bill that included six provisions from the Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee:

“We were happy the House passed an overall omnibus today that included important bills out of our Committee, including one bill that will increase product safety inspectors at U.S. ports to help ensure dangerous products never reach consumers. The legislation will also help protect consumers from harmful, flammable products and COVID-19 scams as well as protect racehorses and jockeys from avoidable risks. We look forward to all of these important safety and consumer protection provisions becoming law.”

Port Surveillance, based on the Consumer Product Safety Inspection Enhancement Act, which was introduced by Chair Schakowsky and Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), directs the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to increase the number of inspectors at ports of entry for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also directs the CPSC to study and report to Congress regarding the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on port inspections and the prevalence of and efforts to target violative consumer products entering the United States as de minimis shipments and from certain high-risk countries.

The COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act, which was introduced by Chair Schakowsky and Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN), grants authority to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to seek civil penalties for unfair and deceptive practices associated with the treatment, cure, prevention, mitigation, or diagnosis of COVID–19 or a government benefit related to COVID-19.

The Portable Fuel Container Safety Act, which was introduced by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), requires the CPSC to promulgate a final rule to require flame mitigation devices in portable fuel containers that impede the propagation of flame into the container. It also directs the CPSC to conduct an education campaign to alert consumers to the dangers of using or storing portable fuel containers near ignition sources and amends the Children’s Gasoline Burn Prevention Act to expand existing child-resistance requirements for closures for portable gasoline containers to include portable kerosene and diesel fuel containers and component parts. 

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2019, which was introduced by Reps. Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Andy Barr (R-KY), establishes minimum standards for an anti-doping and medication control program, racing surfaces, pre-race inspections, equine medical directors, workout requirements and safety stewards. Further, it provides federal recognition and enforcement power to the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority for purposes of developing and implementing both a horse racing anti-doping and medication control program and a racetrack safety program.

The American Competitiveness Of a More Productive Emerging Tech Economy (American COMPETE) Act, which was introduced by Consumer Protection and Commerce Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), directs the Department of Commerce and the FTC to conduct studies and submit reports on technologies including artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, quantum computing, blockchain, advanced materials, unmanned delivery services, and 3-D printing. The studies include requirements to survey each industry and report recommendations to help grow the economy and safely implement the technology.

The Safer Occupancy Furniture Flammability Act (SOFFA), which was introduced by Reps. Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Morgan Griffith (R-VA), adopts the California flammability standard as the federal standard for upholstered furniture. To meet the standard, the upholstered furniture must pass a specific test of the materials' ability to resist smoldering when a heat source is applied.