Consumer Advocates Ask Congress To Please Consider Actually Helping Consumers This Term

The new month and new year brought with them a new Congress, and with that comes an all-new legislative agenda. Lawmakers get to start over with the process of introducing bills and hopefully passing some laws, and consumer advocates are calling on the President and all the legislators on Capitol Hill to get moving on an agenda to help American consumers.

Eight major consumer advocacy groups, including our colleagues at Consumers Union (the advocacy arm of Consumerist’s parent company, Consumer Reports) sent letters today to the White House and members of the House and Senate urging them to consider a list of priorities they’re calling “A Robust Agenda For Consumers.”

The agenda (PDF) asks lawmakers to focus their time and attention on ten major areas of concern for consumers, including:

  • Consumer financial security: In addition to asking lawmakers to protect the CFPB and continue to enforce the CARD Act and the Dodd-Frank Act, advocates draw attention to the need for relief for more than 8 million underwater home loans, as well as the continuously growing problems in (and volume of) student lending.
  • Health care: The consumer advocates stress the need for Americans to have access to affordable, quality health care (and not to go into debt over it). They urge lawmakers to stop trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act and instead to focus energy on areas that would lower costs, like increasing use of generic drugs.
  • Food, drug, auto, and product safety: The agenda asks lawmakers to pass legislation curbing the abuse of antibiotics in agriculture, as well as providing better support for the FDA and USDA to protect the food supply, for the CPSC to properly oversee product safety, and for NHTSA to oversee auto safety.

The agenda also focuses on environmental protection and sustainable energy, net neutrality and data privacy, competitive markets, and protection for consumers’ rights to sue, along with other topics.

In addition to Consumers Union, other participating organizations include Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, National Association of Consumer Advocates, National Consumers League, National Consumer Law Center, Public Citizen, and U.S. PIRG.