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U.S. Safe Web Act of 2006 Extension Act

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. BUTTERFIELD. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 6131, a bill that will reauthorize certain powers granted to the Federal Trade Commission under the U.S. SAFE Web Act that are set to expire very soon.

Congresswoman Bono Mack, the chair of the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee of Energy and Commerce and I and our staffs worked together in a bipartisan manner to quickly get this very important reauthorization language out of the committee and onto the House floor.

When the bill was first authored in the 109th Congress, it was overwhelmingly supported by both Republicans and Democrats and passed the House under suspension of the rules. So I am happy to see that this reauthorization is proceeding in much the same way.

This law provides the Federal Trade Commission with expanded and enhanced authorities with the aim of combating crossborder spyware and spam attacks against the U.S., as well as helping protect consumers from phony Internet rip-offs and telemarketing scams. The enhanced authority has empowered the FTC to better protect American consumers through robust crossborder information sharing, investigative assistance, and coalition building with foreign consumer protection agencies.

In a 2009 report to Congress, the FTC noted the significant role the act has played in facilitating crossborder cooperation in investigations and enforcement proceedings, along with the growing need for continued cooperation to combat new and existing global fraud. Simply put, Mr. Speaker, the expanded authorities are working to protect the American people, and Congress needs to make sure they remain in place so the Federal Trade Commission can effectively combat crossborder scams.

The original SAFE Web Act passed in the 109th Congress included a sunset provision that will cause these enhanced authorities to expire in December of next year. H.R. 6131 will extend these authorities to September of the year 2020.

Mr. Speaker, I am a strong supporter of granting the FTC the powers it needs to effectively protect consumers against fraud, whether originating here or abroad.

So I joined my good friend, Congresswoman Bono Mack, in pushing the 7-year extension in this bill. It is important to highlight that each and every FTC Commissioner, all of them, of both political parties, have called for a permanent reauthorization.

I joined with the FTC in calling for the sunset clause in the U.S. SAFE WEB Act to be completely repealed, and it is still, it is still my opinion and the opinion of several in our committee that this is a better approach.

Nonetheless, Mr. Speaker, both parties can agree, and the FTC's enforcement record shows, that this has been a successful law, so we should not delay. We should not delay or disrupt the FTC's ability to protect the American people from those who want to take advantage of them. I hope my colleagues will agree with us and will join with us in supporting this measure.

Again, I want to thank the gentlelady from California for her friendship and her leadership on the committee. You have just been extraordinary. I also want to thank the chairman of the full committee, Mr. Upton, the gentleman from Michigan, as well as my ranking member, Mr. Waxman, from California. All of us, all of us have worked together so diligently to make this happen, and I thank you so very much.

I will close by simply reiterating what I have said the last 3 or 4 minutes. This is a good bill. We have bipartisan support for this bill. It has been expedited to the House floor. I ask my colleagues to join with us and get it passed, and let's get it enacted into law.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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