Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to Senate amended (05/28/1974)

(LATEST SUMMARY)

Consumer Protection Agency Act - Declares that it is the purpose of this Act to protect and promote the interests of the people of the United States as consumers of goods and services, which are made available to them through commerce or which affect commerce, by establishing an independent Consumer Protection Agency.

Establishes an independent nonregulatory agency of the United States to be known as the Consumer Protection Agency. Provides that the Agency shall be headed by an Administrator appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, for a term of four years coterminous with the term of the President.

Sets forth the functions of the Administrator, including: (1) to represent the interest of consumers before Federal agencies and Federal courts in accordance with this Act; (2) to receive and transmit complaints from consumers; (3) to conduct, support, and assist research and other information-gathering activities related to the interests of consumers; (4) to disseminate to the public information of concern to consumers; (5) to publish, in language readily understandable by consumers, a consumer register which shall set forth the time, place and subject matters of actions by Congress, Federal agencies, and Federal courts, and other information useful to consumers; (6) to encourage private enterprise in the promotion and protection of the interests of consumers; (7) to encourage the application and use of new technology, including patents and inventions, for the promotion and protection of the interests of consumers; (8) to encourage the adoption and expansion of effective consumer education programs; (9) to inform the appropriate committees and Members of Congress of the activities of the Agency and testify, when asked or on his own initiative, before the committees of Congress on matters affecting the interests of consumers; (10) to encourage meaningful participation by consumers in the activities of the Agency; (11) to encourage the development of informal dispute settlement procedures involving consumers; and (12) to perform such other related activities as he deemed necessary for the effective fulfillment of his duties and functions.

Authorizes the Administrator to secure judicial review of any Federal agency action reviewable under law.

Provides that each Federal agency considering any action which may substantially affect an important interest of consumers shall, upon request by the Administrator, notify him of any such proceeding or activity at such time as public notice is given.

Requires that whenever the Administrator receives a signed complaint which discloses an apparent violation of law relating to consumers or a commercial, trade, or other practice which is detrimental to an interest of consumers, he shall transmit such complaint to the appropriate Federal, State, or local agency. Requires the Administrator to maintain a file of such complaints for public inspection.

States that the Administrator shall conduct, support, and assist research, studies, investigations, conferences, and surveys concerning the interests of consumers. Limits the exemption of financial institutions from interagency disclosure requirements. Authorizes the Administrator to disclose to the public information he determines appropriate in carrying out the purposes of this Act.

Requires the Administrator to submit an annual report to the President and Congress. Specifies the areas to be covered in such report.

Grants the Administrator authority to intervene and participate in the proceedings of Federal agencies if he determines that such proceedings may substantially affect an important interest of consumers.

Requires each Federal agency to review its rules of procedure of general applicability, and, after consultation with the Administrator, issue any additional rules which may be necessary to provide for the Administrator's orderly intervention or participation in accordance with this Act in its proceedings and activities which may substantially affect the interests of consumers.

Provides that all officers, employees, assets, liabilities, contracts, property, and records as are determined by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to be employed, held, or used primarily in connection with the functions of the Consumer Product Information Coordinating Center in the General Services Administration are to be transferred to the Agency and all functions of the Administrator of General Services administered through the Consumer Product Information Coordinating Center are to be transferred to the Agency.

Requires that, after reviewing its statutory authority and rules of procedure, relevant agency and judicial decisions, and other relevant provisions of law, each Federal agency shall issue appropriate interpretations, guidelines, standards, or criteria, and rules of procedure, to the extent that such rules are appropriate and are not already in effect, relating to the rights of individuals who may be affected by agency action to: (1) petition the agency for action; (2) receive notice of agency proceedings; (3) file official complaints (if appropriate) with the agency; (4) obtain information from the agency; and (5) participate in agency proceedings for the purpose of representing their interests.

Provides that, in the administration and implementation of this Act, due consideration shall be given to the unique problems of small businesses so as not to discriminate or cause unnecessary hardship.

Authorizes to be appropriated to carry out the provisions of this Act not to exceed $15,000,000 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1975, not to exceed $20,000,000 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1976, and not to exceed $25,000,000 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1977.

Directs the Comptroller General of the United States to audit, review, and evaluate the implementation of the provisions of this Act by the Consumer Protection Agency.