Members will hear statements from the following nominees. Senator McCain will preside.
The Honorable Jonathan LeibowitzCommissionerFederal Trade Commission
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Senator Hollings and Members of the Committee. I also want to thank Senators Kohl and DeWine for those kind and I’m not sure entirely deserved words on my behalf. The Antirust Subcommittee, under their direction, was and is a wonderfully bipartisan place to work—it’s a tribute to their joint leadership. And you couldn’t have a better, more decent boss than Senator Kohl. I can’t say enough about what an honor it was to have been a part of his office for two terms. I don’t have a long statement but, with the Committee’s permission, I would like to introduce members of my family who are here today, and to speak briefly: Behind me is my wife Ruth Marcus, a writer at the Washington Post, who has been enormously supportive of my returning to public service; and Sitting next to her are our daughters--Emma, age 9, and Julia, age 7. Mr. Chairman, with the possible exception of the Senate, I can’t think of a better or more important place to work than the Federal Trade Commission. Its mission--to ensure competition and to foster the exchange of accurate information in the marketplace--brings consumers lower prices and greater choices, and creates more informed decision-making. When SPAM began to clog the in-boxes of millions of computers and made parents afraid to let their children use e-mail, Congress turned to the FTC to start going after the worst spammers and help tackle this technological traffic jam. When brand name drug companies colluded with generics to prevent consumers from receiving more affordable medicine, the FTC stopped this abusive practice. And when a constant barrage of telemarketing calls disrupted the dinner tables of America, the FTC devised a plan to protect the privacy that all Americans deserve in their own homes. The "Do Not Call List" has improved the lives--and the dinners--of literally tens of millions of Americans. From stopping predatory lending practices and phony weight loss schemes to ensuring privacy and security on the Internet to blocking mergers that harm competition, the FTC is a critical first line of defense for bread and butter issues that affect average Americans. And while protecting consumer welfare, the Commission has also been crucial to preserving our system of free enterprise—doing so effectively for almost 90 years, since it was established during the Wilson Administration. Part of this is due to the leadership of the Commission in recent years--people like Bob Pitofsky, Tim Muris, and the late Janet Steiger of Wisconsin---I am sure Debbie will be part of this rich tradition. And part of this is due to the talented, energetic and hard working agency staff. Not a better staff, I believe, in all of government. Of course, it is impossible for us to know—or perhaps even imagine—what consumer protection and competition challenges loom on the horizon. But I would be honored to play even a small role in helping this unique federal agency—one of the few in Washington whose stated mandate is to protect American consumers--devise solutions to future problems. Mr. Chairman, if I am fortunate enough to be confirmed, I will go to the Commission with an open mind on every issue. But also with a firm commitment to very aggressively enforce the laws. Thank you.
Mr. Benjamin Wu
Chairman McCain, Senator Hollings, and distinguished members of the Committee, It is a privilege and an honor to appear before you today as the President’s nominee for Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Technology Policy. I am deeply grateful to President Bush and Secretary Evans for the confidence they have shown in me. I am so very pleased to have been introduced by Congressman Sherry Boehlert, the Chairman of the House Science Committee, where I called home for the majority of my years working in Congress. Chairman Boehlert has been a tireless leader in championing federal investments in science and technology. I have known him since I first began my professional career in Congress and he has served as a true inspiration, teaching me life-long lessons about the value of public service. I would also like to recognize my wife, Teresa, and express my appreciation to my parents who are here with me today. This is a proud moment for my family. When we first arrived in the United States from Taiwan in the 1960’s, this country opened its arms and allowed us to follow our hopes and dreams to seek greater prospects in this land of opportunity. Back then, Taiwan was still a mostly agrarian country and had yet to unleash the revolutionary power of high technology as an economic engine. Today, that little island the size of Massachusetts is one of the “Asian tigers,” ranking with some of the world’s most developed economies. Taiwan is certainly not the only current example, however, of a country that has, or is seeking, a dramatic conversion fueled by technology. Countries all over the world – in Europe, Asia, and South America – are all competing for their share of the technology market. They all understand, as we have experienced here in the United States especially in the past two decades, the transformative impact of technological innovation. As these nations improve their economies and capabilities, now more than ever, we must act decisively so as not to jeopardize our market leadership and preserve our American technological preeminence. We can not afford to stand still when the pace of technology is advancing so rapidly. At this critical juncture, the challenges are coming from varied fronts and much is at stake. The keys to future United States competitiveness will continue to be our development of technological innovation and our ability to spur entrepreneurship. They are the foundation which our command of the global marketplace rests and they are the overarching mission of our Commerce Department’s Office of Technology Policy (OTP), which I would lead. I intend to focus OTP’s resources on the process of technological innovation and entrepreneurship; in other words, how the genius of American technology gets developed, how the results of R&D make their way to the marketplace, and how technology can be harnessed to grow companies, jobs, and industries. For Fiscal Year 2005, President Bush has requested an unprecedented level of $132 billion for research and development funding, and this R&D needs to be maximized for the country by converting it to wealth-generating, productivity-enhancing products, processes, and services. OTP would also examine the wide range of factors and policies that affect the process of technology development, deployment, and commercialization. These areas include: industrial structure and management, manufacturing capabilities, the availability of highly skilled technical workers, innovation management practices in the private sector, foreign policies and practices related to technological innovation, state and local government efforts to stimulate technology-led economic growth, public-private sector cooperation in technology, and more. The office would also identify and work to remove barriers that impede the flow of new technology into the economy, both domestically and in key foreign markets. My immediate goals in the Office of Technology Policy would be to: provide the President and the Secretary with quality analyses of important, cutting-edge science and technology issues of national concern in order to ensure that American technological preeminence is maintained; establish greater dialogue with the high-technology industry sectors; develop rapid response mechanisms to advise on appropriate actions; strengthen interagency collaborations with other federal agencies on issues that cross-cut departmental boundaries; and form greater partnership opportunities with the three entities that perform our nation’s research and development -- industry, universities, and the federal government – in order to enhance our science and technology enterprise. From the beginning of my 16-year professional career in public service, I have worked on policies and programs to promote United States science and technology advancements. I have been engaged with OTP ever since its inception, either through legislative budget and oversight or through executive supervision and management. In doing so, I have had the pleasure of developing strong bipartisan relationships with you and your staffs. If confirmed by the Senate, I look forward to continuing that relationship. Together, we can promote innovation for a stronger, safer America. Thank you and I would be pleased to respond to your questions.
Mr. Scott Walker
Chairman McCain, Senator Hollings and members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to consider my nomination to serve on the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC). It is an honor to be here and a privilege to be selected by President Bush for this position. Mr. Chairman, if confirmed, I look forward to working with this Committee on the many important issues regarding commerce, transportation and security facing the SLSDC Advisory Board and the Congress. I also would like to express my appreciation for the support I have for this position from my Congressman, Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner as well as Congressmen Paul Ryan and Jerry Kleczka. Two members of your distinguished body – Senator Herb Kohl and Senator Russ Feingold have also been a great support to me. I have an excellent working relationship with the entire Wisconsin Congressional delegation and I appreciate their support as well. I am the elected County Executive for Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. Our county government has an annual operating budget of $1.1 billion and nearly 7,000 employee positions. Our county is made up of 19 municipalities – including the City of Milwaukee – with a combined population of 937,000 people and we rest on the western shores of Lake Michigan. I would hope to draw on this executive management experience, as well as my energy and enthusiasm for the position, in carrying out my duties as an Advisory Board Member. The work of the SLSDC is critically important to the progress of commerce and transportation in the Great Lakes region and – in turn – throughout the country. This is an excellent opportunity to work with Administrator Jacquez and the other members of the SLSDC Advisory Board. If confirmed, I look forward to working with you, Mr. Chairman, and members of the Committee to make transportation and commerce work well in the area covered by the SLSDC. Again, thank you for the opportunity to appear, and I look forward to answering any of your questions.
The Honorable Deborah Platt MajorasChairmanFederal Trade Commission
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Chairman McCain, Senator Hollings, and members of the Committee, it is an honor to have been nominated by the President to serve as Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission and to appear before you today. I thank you for your expeditious scheduling of this hearing. I also wish to express my great appreciation to Senator George Allen for his generous introduction. I am blessed to have the strong support of my husband, John, who is here with me today. It is also a great privilege for me to recognize four sitting Commissioners who are with us today, Commissioner Mozelle Thompson, Commissioner Orson Swindle, Commissioner Tom Leary, and Commissioner Pamela Jones Harbour. Chairman Tim Muris regrets that he had to be out of town and could not be present. Also here today are some of my former and current colleagues, whose support I genuinely appreciate. Finally, it is an honor to be on this panel today with so many accomplished nominees and, in particular, with Jonathan Leibowitz, a proven public servant with whom I hope to have the opportunity to serve on the Commission. The free market is the foundation of our enviable economic system. It breeds innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship at unmatched rates. Yet, while we can be proud of our beneficial use of the economic laws of demand and supply, we must never reduce either force to simply curves on a graph. Demand is not a scientific formula. Rather, it is the collective voice of the U.S. consumer. And while, in a well-functioning marketplace, that collective consumer voice has the power to drive product innovation, marketing strategies, and pricing decisions, consumers are still at times taken for granted, ignored, manipulated, defrauded, and even robbed of their resources. For 90 years, the Federal Trade Commission has stood up for the welfare of the consumer. While the supply side in general responds effectively and responsibly to consumers’ demands, some individual suppliers from inside and outside of our borders choose to illegally prey on consumers rather than battle for their business in the competitive arena. This harms consumers and, frankly, also harms firms that conduct their businesses in accordance with the law. That is why strong law enforcement in defense of the consumer is an imperative. The range of commercial activity that the FTC must patrol is ever growing. The rise of the Internet and other technology-related developments have brought consumers and suppliers closer together, creating new fora for providing and obtaining marketplace information and engaging in efficient commercial transactions. But these new tools have also, in another sense, driven consumers and suppliers further apart, as those bent on deception now can hide behind phony identities and jurisdictional borders and can steal private information without immediate detection. Working cooperatively with other law enforcers and with Congress, the FTC must lead the way in the fight against fraud, in whatever form it takes. The combination of antitrust and consumer protection enforcement is a powerful “one-two punch” in the FTC’s fight to protect and enhance consumer welfare. Protecting competition through enforcement of the antitrust laws gives consumers lower prices, innovation, and choice. Simultaneously, enforcement of the consumer protection laws promotes the exchange of complete, accurate, and non-deceptive information in the marketplace, while protecting consumers’ private information from unwanted and unknowing dissemination. One type of enforcement complements the other, as the flow of accurate information contributes to robust competition in the free market. And significantly, properly enforced, these laws instill and restore in consumers a faith in the fair and proper working of our economic system. Serving as the consumer’s defender and protector is a tremendous responsibility. If I am confirmed, I commit that I will undertake that responsibility, together with my colleagues, with the utmost dedication and integrity, working tirelessly, and using the talented men and women of the FTC as my example. Thank you.
Mr. Brett Palmer
Mr. Chairman, Senator Hollings, and members of the Committee, I am honored to be testifying before you today. I would like to thank the President for nominating me, the Secretary for supporting me, and the Senate for considering my nomination. My wife Emily and my new son Charles, my father Tim and his wife Andrea, my mother-in-law Camilla, my sister Susannah, my sister-in-law Sarah and many friends and colleagues are here today. I would not have had the chance to be before you today without the lifetime of support given to me by my family and friends. I have served the Congress in a House leadership office and the personal office of a House Committee Chairman. My experience in the House leadership made me understand and respect the Congressional process. Having worked in a personal office, I understand and value good constituent service. In my current capacity as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Trade Legislation and the Acting Assistant Secretary for Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs, I have worked with just about every Senator’s office and most House offices. Working under the leadership of Secretary Evans, Assistant Secretary Brenda Becker, and Undersecretary Grant Aldonas has been the best and most fulfilling job I have ever had. It has allowed me to stay intimately involved in Congress while continuously exposing me to new policy challenges. Now that I have been nominated to take the job that was performed so well by Brenda Becker, I intend to maintain the very high standards she set. Secretary Evans would tolerate nothing less. I see my mission as ensuring that the Department of Commerce’s relationship with Congress remains robust and constructive. Members from both chambers and parties must be able to expect timely and full information on issues of concern to them. I am an advocate - for both the Secretary and the Congress. You can expect that I will aggressively make Congress aware of the Department’s positions and actions. You can also expect that I will aggressively advocate for Congressional concerns inside the Department. While I do not expect Congress to like all of our decisions, I do expect that Congress will be fully engaged and treated fairly. I believe that it is also important to mention that the job for which I have been nominated is not limited to Congressional relations. State and local governments also are interested in many of the Department’s issues. I intend to keep the lines of communication open with them as well. As we go forward, if I am fortunate enough to be confirmed by this Committee and the Senate, I pledge to make myself available to the Committee to personally deal with any and all challenges that confront us jointly in the future. Thank you again for the time you have taken to consider my nomination. I look forward to answering any questions you may have.
Mr. Enrique Sosa