Sen. Cruz Highlights Commerce Committee’s Strong Bipartisan Efforts to Deliver Victories for Consumers and Take Steps to Protect Children’s Privacy Online

July 27, 2023

Speaks in Support of his TICKET Act and AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act, Details Areas Where Children’s Safety Legislation Can Be Improved


WASHINGTON, D.C. – In his opening statement at today’s full committee markup, Ranking Member Ted Cruz (R-Texas) discussed the importance of the committee’s bipartisan efforts that will greatly benefit American consumers by bringing transparency to the online ticket market, highlighting his TICKET Act and steps to protect AM radio with the AM Radio For Every Vehicle Act. While he voiced his support for two pieces of legislation aimed at protecting children’s data online, the Kids Online Safety Act and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, he also pointed to several improvements he believes could be made to this legislation. Lastly, Sen. Cruz discussed his opposition to the Country of Origin Online Labeling Act, voicing his concerns regarding provisions that would introduce inconsistencies and show favoritism with regard to online retailers vs. brick-and-mortar sellers, as well as provisions that would grant more power to the Federal Trade Commission.


Sen. Cruz’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, are included below:


“Thank you, Madam Chairwoman. I’m grateful to you and your staff for working with me and my staff to move multiple bipartisan bills in this markup. There are a few bills that I’d like to briefly mention.


“First, I’m pleased that we’ll be marking up the AM Radio in Every Vehicle Act, which I introduced with Senator Markey. Americans rely on AM radio to provide them with safety alerts, news, talk radio, and music.


“Unfortunately, several automakers want to take this important resource out of cars. That’s a big mistake. AM radio plays a critical role in delivering emergency alerts.


“It’s also a platform for talk radio and many minority and ethnic-focused stations, all of which are homes for alternative viewpoints and diverse audiences. Given that, it’s no surprise a large, diverse group of broadcasting, public safety, and other organizations support this bill.


“Second, I’m excited that we’ll be marking up the TICKET Act, which I introduced with Chairwoman Cantwell. Every sports fan and concertgoer can recall a time buying a ticket online expecting to pay one price only to learn at checkout that the total cost was much higher because of hidden fees.


“The TICKET Act would fix this lack of transparency by requiring ticket sellers to disclose the total ticket price—including fees—upfront—just like how airlines have to.


“Now turning to the Kids Online Safety Act, or KOSA, and the Children and Teens’ Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA. I’m pleased we’re advancing these bipartisan bills to improve children’s online safety and data privacy.


“America has greatly benefitted from the development of the internet. But that development has not come without costs, particularly for children, who have been exposed to predators, toxic content, and other online harms.


“Unfortunately, Big Tech companies have failed to protect children or give parents the safeguards and controls they need to protect them. KOSA will help safeguard children from these online harms and empower parents. And COPPA will help to ensure the privacy of children’s data.


“I want to thank Senators Blackburn, Blumenthal, Markey, and Cantwell for working with me and my staff. I think we’ve made some good improvements to both bills, like clarifying how tech companies need to obtain parental consent and putting in place guardrails against government overreach.


“I support voting these bills out of committee, but I think there is more work to be done on them before they move to the floor. For instance, in KOSA, we should consider adding a preemption provision.


“Since this committee last marked up KOSA, multiple states have passed laws that may be inconsistent with parts of this bill. I don’t think it’s a good idea to create a new litigation magnet when we have an opportunity in advance to solve future conflicts.


“Finally, I want to discuss the Country of Origin Online Labeling Act. Like many Americans, I want to know what country the products I’m buying—in a store or online—come from.  Unfortunately, I cannot support this bill in its current form.


“But I am happy to keep working with my colleagues to get it right. Let me highlight a few significant issues with this bill.


“First, the bill creates inconsistencies in the law that are counter-productive and unfair. The bill requires country of origin disclosures for foreign-made products sold online, but not for American-made products. Many Americans want to know if a product is ‘Made in the U.S.A’ and they should be able to know that.


“The bill also creates a new legal liability for misrepresenting the country of origin of a product. But this liability only applies to online sellers, not brick-and-mortar stores. This disparity creates an unfair playing field.


“Second, this bill empowers the FTC to implement and enforce broad country of origin labeling provisions, which is something the FTC has no experience doing.  CBP is the agency with expertise in this area. We should give more thought to whether it’s wise to expand the FTC’s powers in this novel way.


“Third, the bill does not resolve the difficult issue of how to determine the country of origin for products made with components from different countries. Getting this right matters because if online sellers mislabel a product they could be held legally liable by the FTC.


“That’s a big risk for small sellers on sites like Etsy, but also for sellers of politically-disfavored products like firearms, which can have component parts that come from multiple countries. Given the Obama administration’s history of using federal agencies to attack the firearms industry, I’m not comfortable giving the FTC an opening to do something like that again.


“Madam Chairwoman, thank you again to you and your staff for your hard work on this markup.”