By Lynn Stanton, TR Daily
The Senate yesterday confirmed President Trump’s five nominees for the FTC, although one of the nominees will have to wait for the current occupant to depart.
Three of the five FTC seats have been vacant for at least a year, and a fourth commissioner, Terrell McSweeny, announced that her last day would be April 28. The sole remaining commissioner, acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen, is awaiting confirmation to a seat on the federal bench.
The five picks are Republican antitrust lawyer Joseph Simons, whom the president nominated to a term expiring in 2024 and whom indicated he would designate as FTC chairman; Consumer Federation of America senior fellow Rohit Chopra, a Democrat, nominated to a term expiring in September 2019; Republican Noah Phillips, chief counsel for Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas), for a term ending in 2023; Republican Christine Wilson, senior vice president–regulatory and international affairs at Delta Air Lines, for a term ending this September and for a full seven-year term after that; and Democrat Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, who most recently was chief counsel to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.), who was nominated to serve the remainder of a seven-year term expiring Sept. 25, 2022.
The Senate Commerce, Transportation, and Science Committee voted yesterday to report Ms. Slaughter’s nomination favorably to the full Senate. It voted in February to report the other four FTC nominees favorable.
The seat to which Ms. Wilson was confirmed is still occupied by acting FTC Chairman Ohlhausen.
In a statement, Chairman Ohlhausen said, "I congratulate Joe, as well as Noah, Rebecca, and Rohit on their Senate confirmations. I look forward to welcoming them to the Commission once their appointments are made final by President Trump. I also congratulate Christine, who will take my seat if I am so fortunate as to be confirmed by the Senate as a Judge on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims."
In a joint statement, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R., Ore.) and digital commerce and consumer protection subcommittee Chairman Bob Latta (R., Ohio) said, "A fully confirmed FTC means the commission is back to its full strength as the cop on the beat to keep consumers safe and promote a vibrant free market. From the Internet of Things, to data security, robocalls, and more, we will continue to work closely with the FTC on many important consumer protection issues. The committee will also continue its vigorous oversight of the FTC as well as process reform efforts to improve the commission’s ability to protect consumers from ever-evolving harms. We thank Acting Chairman Ohlhausen for her leadership, and we look forward to working with Chairman Simons and the commissioners following today’s confirmation."
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R., S.D.) said, "Today, the Senate confirmed a full slate of commissioners to the FTC, restoring full capacity to the agency after operating with only two commissioners for over a year. The FTC is a critically important agency focused on ensuring both consumer protection and fair competition in the marketplace. I am grateful to acting Chairman Ohlhausen and Commissioner McSweeny for their leadership over the past year, and look forward to working with the new chairman and commissioners on challenging issues such as robocalling, privacy and data security as they step into their new roles."
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