Our fearless co-leader Ben just sent us this link from the Consumerist Washington delegation. The New Mexico Independent sent a reporter to liveblog today’s credit card reform town hall meeting at a high school in Rio Rancho, NM. The transcript includes comments and questions from readers, and also comments from national and regional consumer advocates.
Join us at 9:30 as we liveblog the Arbitration Fairness Act’s second hearing before Congress. Arbitration is an extrajudicial jury-free way to resolve disputes where decisions are handed down by arbitrators who rule against consumers in 98.4% of cases. The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution will be considering S. 1782, an Act to banish mandatory binding arbitration from consumer disputes.
Liveblogging The Senate Permanent Subcommittee On Investigations Hearing On Arbitrary Credit Card Rate Increases
Today at 9:30 a.m., Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) will continue his investigation into the unfair and deceptive practices of the credit card industry. Today’s topic: arbitrary rate increases for cardholders in good standing. The hearing picks up where Senator Levin left off in March, when he questioned the use of excessive fees, interest charges, and the abuse of grace periods.
Liveblogging The Senate Commerce Committee Hearing On Cigarettes, The FTC, And Deceptive Advertising
Starting today at 2:30 p.m., the Senate Commerce Committee will ask the FTC why it can’t accurately measure the level of tar or nicotine in cigarettes. The Commission has admitted: “[our] ratings tend to be relatively poor predictors of tar and nicotine exposure.” The Committee is concerned that “light” and “ultra light” cigarettes are really just dolled-up deathsticks slapped a pretty name, and that the FTC doesn’t have sufficient legal firepower to stamp out deceptive marketing practices.
Get ready for dual-chamber coverage of the House and Senate markups of the Do Not Call Improvement Act and the CPSC Reform Act, starting at 2 pm. The FTC-supported Do Not Call Improvement Act would make Do Not Call registrations permanent. The House is set to consider its version, H.R. 3541, in the House Energy and Commerce Committee at 2 pm, while the Senate Commerce Committee will markup its own version, S. 2096, at 2:30 pm. The Senate will also markup S. 2045, the CPSC Reauthorization Act, which would boost the CPSC budget to almost $150 million, add 80 new staffers, and increase the CPSC’s maximum fine from $1.8 million to $100 million.
Consumers may finally escape from the clutches of mandatory binding arbitration if the House Judiciary Committee smiles favorably today upon the Arbitration Fairness Act. Arbitrators rule against consumers in more than 98% of all disputes; the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law is currently meeting to consider H.R. 3010, which would restore consumers’ rights to resolve disputes fairly and openly.
Liveblogging The Senate Commerce Committee Hearing On Toys, Children's Products, And The Chinese Sweatshops In Which They're Made
Starting today at 9:30 a.m., the Senate Commerce Committee will examine the lives of the young Chinese workers who assemble our Barbies and Tiggers without the workforce protections or social safety nets enjoyed by western workers.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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