Protecting Consumers

As the Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, I take an active role in seeing that a competitive marketplace ensures the lowest possible prices for high quality and innovative goods and services for Wisconsinites and all Americans. Through this subcommittee, I have continued work to lower gas prices, ensure affordable prescription drugs, bring down air fares, protect Americans from identification theft and fraud, and reduce cable and satellite TV charges.

In addition, to protect consumers, I have worked to implement credit card reform, as a co-sponsor of S. 1395, The Stop Unfair Practices in Credit Cards Act. This legislation would halt abusive practices credit card companies impose on consumers, such as applying interest charges to penalty fees and increasing interest rates without prior notification. Additionally, with great concern of the increasing amount of college students saddled with credit card debt, I have introduced S. 1925, The Student Credit Card Protection Act. My legislation would require card issuers to verify the income of a student and then base the amount of a loan or credit limit on what can actually be afforded.

My efforts to protect consumers include:

  • Leading effort to enact legislative reform to reduce gas prices by permitting the Department of Justice to take action against OPEC for collusion in setting prices or limiting the production of oil, which was passed overwhelmingly by the House of Representatives and the Senate.
  • Working to end the collusive arrangements between brand name and generic drug companies that keep lower-priced medications off the market.
  • Working to end secret court settlements when public health and safety is affected.
  • Working to end shipping gouging by ending the antitrust exemption for railroads. I have introduced The Railroad Antitrust Enforcement Act, which would eliminate the exemption, and prevent shippers served by a single railroad – from electric cooperatives to paper companies – from being forced to raise their prices for consumers after experiencing unfair rate increases.
  • Protecting consumer discounts by sponsoring legislation to restore the antitrust rule that a manufacturer cannot set a minimum retail price for its product.