The U.S. Chamber of Commerce sent letters to members of Congress on Thursday urging them to cut two sections of President Joe Biden’s spending bill that empower the Federal Trade Commission.
The Chamber, which represents a wide array of businesses and trade associations across the country, sent the letters to lawmakers lambasting two provisions of the Build Back Better Act, which is currently being debated in the Senate, for giving the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) “unprecedented and unjustified” authority to regulate businesses.
If enacted, the provisions would create a privacy bureau within the FTC to combat “unfair or deceptive acts or practices relating to privacy, data security, identity theft, data abuses, and related matters.” Moreover, the provisions would grant the FTC additional authority to impose civil penalties on firms that commit such “unfair or deceptive acts or practices.”
The Chamber argued these provisions would stifle innovation, harm consumers and make business activity subject to the arbitrary whim of the FTC.
“This would constitute a major policy shift in FTC enforcement authority that would unfairly erode due process and would impose significant new costs on companies acting in good faith when serving consumers,” the Chamber wrote on behalf of businesses and trade groups.
The letters are the latest salvo in the Chamber’s campaign against the FTC under Chairwoman Lina Khan. The organization filed several legal challenges to Khan’s policy of counting “zombie votes,” or votes from Commissioners no longer serving at the FTC, in late November.
“The FTC is waging a war against American businesses, so the U.S. Chamber is fighting back to protect free enterprise, American competitiveness, and economic growth,” Suzanne P. Clark, the Chamber’s president and chief executive, said at the time.
Khan has made several major changes since she took office in June, withdrawing key guidelines on competition and mergers, pushing to expand rulemaking authority, overseeing antitrust litigation against Facebook and curbing the flow of information to the agency’s staff and fellow commissioners.
The moves have drawn the ire of Republican FTC Commissioners and lawmakers alike, who have accused Khan of mounting a “progressive putsch” to consolidate her authority while damaging the agency’s bipartisan traditions.
The FTC declined to comment when reached by the Daily Caller News Foundation.