FTC Enforcement HR 2309, HR 2221 The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on commerce, trade and consumer protection House panel approved two bills June 3 that would expand the power of the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general.The bills' sponsor, panel Chairman Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., said that neither bill is meant to cover insured depository institutions, but industry representatives have said that the legislative language is ambiguous and is fueling concerns that consumer protection could be headed for enforcement outside of the traditional banking agencies.

The Consumer Credit and Debt Protection Act, which passed 16 to 9 along party lines, would give the FTC expedited rulemaking authority to target unfair or deceptive acts or practices and to obtain civil penalties, which state attorneys general could enforce. It would specifically direct the FTC to consider additional consumer protections for payday lending, mortgage foreclosure rescue and loan modification scams. It also would require the FTC to ensure regulations on debt settlement in auto financing were necessary to prevent unfair and deceptive practices.

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