July 30, 2004

Wyden Statement on Majoras Recess Appointment

Senator Comments on Bush Administrations Recess Appointment of Deborah Majoras to be the Chair of the FTC

WASHINGTON, DC U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) released the following statement today following the Bush Administrations recess appointment of Deborah Majoras to be the chair of the Federal Trade Commission:The anti-consumer record of the Federal Trade Commission on oil company mergers and other issues that are significant factors in raising gasoline prices at the pump is a sorry one, and there is no evidence that Ms. Majoras will change this course. I hope I am wrong and that this un-democratic process for naming a new chair won't result in consumers being hammered with high gas prices again and again.Because Ms. Majoras failed to offer any concrete steps that she would take to help consumers facing high gas prices, Wyden blocked Commerce Committee action on her nomination on July 22nd. He also announced that he would place a hold on Majoras nomination, effectively blocking the Senate from taking up her nomination. Wyden has repeatedly called on the FTC in the current and previous Administrations to take action to protect consumers from high gasoline prices, despite providing Majoras with numerous opportunities to say what she would do to protect consumers. Wyden received no indication from Majoras that under her leadership the agency would take any steps to end well-documented anti-competitive practices that drive up gasoline prices nationwide and particularly in the Northwest.Wyden has called for further hearings into the conclusions of a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that found oil mergers approved by the FTC had increased gasoline prices by as much as seven cents per gallon, and what Majoras would do as FTC Chair to protect consumers from impacts of oil mergers the FTC may consider in the future.A number of consumer advocacy groups, including the Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, the U.S Public Interest Research Group and Common Cause, have sent letters to the Senate Commerce Committee, raising serious concerns about Majoras nomination.