Today at 10 a.m., the Senate Commerce Committee will pry through bone and muscle to see if cellphone companies really do have hearts of pure stone. The Committee will question the industry’s most egregious practices: junk fees, illegal contract extensions, and early termination fees. The industry is working overtime to cast itself as the consumer’s best friend, with AT&T recently agreeing to prorate ETFs as part of a desperate attempt to show that federal regulation is unnecessary.
Starting today at 10 a.m., the powerful Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, John Dingell (D-MI), will hold a hearing on H.R. 3610, The Food and Drug Import Safety Act of 2007, or, as we have dubbed the bill, The Poison-Free Food Act. The bill would dramatically alter the FDA’s handling of imported foods, empowering the agency to:
- Issue mandatory recalls;
- Limit food imports to ports clustered near FDA inspection labs;
- Require a country of origin labels for food, drugs and medical devices;
- Subject exporters to a strict certification program administered by the Department of Health and Human Services.
The Committee will hear from two panels: The first will see FDA Commissioners and regulators defending their agency, while the second will host a panoply of foodies, including the Coalition for a Stronger FDA, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, and Big Pharma.
Parading before you today will be two familiar panels: The first will feature acting Consumer Product Safety Commission Chair Nancy Nord and Commissioner Thomas Moore, who skipped out of last week’s hearing for a dentists appointment. The second will be devoted solely to Mattel CEO Robert Eckert.
Today is a big day for Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). Starting at 11am, the Chairman of the powerful Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government will kick off a series of hearings examining the toy industry’s seemingly magnetic attraction to lead paint. Durbin, whose Subcommittee has jurisdiction over the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s budget, will grill toy industry representatives, consumer advocates, and members of the government over plans to protect America’s children from the dangers silently lurking on toy shelves by establishing an independent testing regime.
Verizon has violated Maryland state regulations by missing more than 20% of its scheduled appointments in 5 of the first 6 months of 2007, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Join us at 2:30 we liveblog the Senate Commerce Committee’s oversight hearing on telemarketing fraud. The Committee wants to fight telemarketers who target vulnerable senior citizens, so they’re going to ask the FTC to take center stage and explain its implementation of the Do-Not-Call list and the Credit Reporting Organizations Act (CROA.)
Join us at 10 am as we liveblog the progress of the Senate Commerce Committee’s China-bashing posse. Though common sense, and a report from the New York Times, shows that the U.S. imports tainted goods from several countries, the committee, and its smorgasbord of panelists, will only discuss the problems plaguing goods from China.
Carey has a hot new Ted Stevens bon mot, gleaned from his liveblogging of the Senate Commerce Committee Hearing On Number Portability, coming from the same crazy-old-man-stratosphere as his infamous “series of tubes” remark.
Join us today at 10 am Eastern as we liveblog the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing on telephone number portability. These are the laws and procedures governing your ability to take a phone number started with one carrier to another. Historically, telephone companies have sought to limit customer’s portability rights.
The House Financial Services Committee wants to know why it is so difficult to dispute inaccurate information on your credit report. You can watch the hearing live thanks to a webcam connected to the tubes.
The hearing will examine factors that continue to contribute to inaccurate consumer credit reports and evaluate the adequacy of the consumer dispute process under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). In addition, the Committee will hear recommendations for improving the process and efforts that furnishers, credit bureaus and the regulators are taking to improve the accuracy of credit report information and will review the status of key rule makings and studies mandated by the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACTA) related to the accuracy of information furnished to consumer reporting agencies and the adequacy of the dispute resolution process.
Hot! The Committee will hear testimony from the FTC, the Federal Reserve, consumer advocates, and industry representatives. Not invited to testify: The Consumerist. Don’t worry Chairman Franks, you can invite us to the next hearing. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER
Senator John Kerry, D-Mass., had questions for Major League Baseball and DirecTV at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on behalf of subscribers to cable TV and EchoStar Communications Corp.’s Dish Network who are threatened by the DirecTV-only “Extra Innings” deal.
The Senate Banking Committee held a hearing Wednesday on predatory lending practices titled: “Preserving the American Dream: Predatory Lending Practices and Home Foreclosures.”
- Guests include Elizabeth Warren, Leo Gottleib Professor of Law and author of The Two Income Trap: Why Middle Class Mothers and Fathers are Going Broke, Harvard Law School; Dr. Robert Manning, Professor of Finance and Author of Credit Card Nation, Rochester Institute of Technology; John Finneran , President of Corporate Reputation and Governance, CapitalOne Financial; Richard Vague, Chief Executive Officer, Barclaycard US; Carter Franke, Executive Vice President of Marketing, JP Morgan Chase & Co.; Tamara Draut, Director, Economic Opportunity Programs, Demos; and Travis Plunkett, Legislative Director, Consumer Federation of America.
Ohh, CapitalOne. If they show up late we hope the senate charges them a fee.—MEGHANN MARCO