Click here to watch Wicker’s remarks.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, yesterday delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor ahead of a Senate vote on a motion to discharge the nomination of Alvaro M. Bedoya for Federal Trade Commissioner (FTC).
Remarks as delivered:
I rise this evening to urge my colleagues to oppose the nomination of Alvaro Bedoya to be a commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission. Recently, the Commerce Committee deadlocked on this nomination, Madam President, with all Republican members voting no and all Democratic members voting yes. And so, it will take a discharge petition here on the Senate floor to move Mr. Bedoya’s nomination further.
If our Democratic colleagues are successful, Mr. Bedoya will become the fifth tiebreaking commissioner of the FTC. And let me just observe, as someone who's been on the Commerce Committee for years and years here in the United States Senate, the Federal Trade Commission, which is where Mr. Bedoya would become a member, has always approached issues and addressed the public in a spirit of bipartisanship.
Unlike the Federal Communications Commission, the FCC, where we're used to the vote being two to three in a very partisan manner. That's the FCC for you. But we haven't had that over time with the Federal Trade Commission. The Federal Trade Commission has had a tradition of bipartisanship. They've had a tradition of issuing policy statements with all five of them participating, issuing statements to the Commerce Committee before testimony with the one statement speaking for the entire Federal Trade Commission.
Mr. Bedoya’s records show that he would bring that sort of partisanship that we've had at the FCC to the Federal Trade Commission, and I hope we can avoid that. Madam President, as a matter of fact, Mr. Bedoya has publicly supported eliminating the long-standing bipartisan policy statements, and he's advocating excluding minority party commissioners from agency investigative actions.
This would be a troubling step for a commission that's been bipartisan. Mr. Bedoya has a long history of divisive social media statements. For example, he called for the elimination of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. He called for the elimination of ICE. That is how extreme and out to the left field this nominee, this nominee, Alvaro Bedoya, is.
He called on local law enforcement agencies not to cooperate with ICE. So, if you are a local police department, just don't cooperate with the federal agency in charge of immigration and customs enforcement. He has accused cabinet level departments of committing human rights abuses, and he has even demanded that several of our colleagues here in the United States Senate resign. He is a hothead, plainly said, Madam President, more appropriate for a talk radio host of the far left rather than the fifth vote on the Federal Trade Commission.
Additionally, as the Judiciary Committee continues to consider a Supreme Court nomination, I think it's instructive to recall that in the fall of 2020 this nominee, Mr. Bedoya, urged Senate Democrats to boycott the Judiciary Committee's hearings on the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to serve on the Supreme Court.
Now, Madam President, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle would be outraged if Republican members of the Judiciary Committee actually refused to attend the committee's hearings, which occurred last week. This is exactly what Mr. Bedoya the FTC nominee called on Democrats to do just 18 months ago. Clearly, he's out of the mainstream. This is not the temperament we need to send to the FTC, particularly at a time when the agency's current leadership has pursued a more partisan agenda of late, we need to get away from that trend.
Then beyond temperament, Madam President, Mr. Bedoya has demonstrated a lack of experience and a lack of knowledge on the major policy areas that he would be responsible for, regulating as an FTC commissioner, although the FTC is the nation's premier regulator of consumer privacy, Mr. Bedoya’s experience on the topic of privacy comes from his time on the staff at the Senate Judiciary Committee, and there he largely dealt with issues of government surveillance that fall outside the FTC's jurisdiction. So even the limited experience Mr. Bedoya has gives him no help in dealing with Federal Trade Commission issues. Through the Commerce Committee's vetting process, Mr. Bedoya has also shown a limited knowledge of the competition and antitrust issues that are at the heart of today's major policy debates at the FTC.
I don't want the FTC to lack a tie breaking vote forever. That is not the reason every Republican on the Commerce Committee voted no, but I do want the agency to be able to tackle these important issues, to rein in Big Tech’s dominance of so many marketplaces, to support a 21st century economy that spurs innovation, and to protect consumers from fraud and other unfair and deceptive business practices.
I want the FTC to return to its traditional standing as an agency driven by bipartisanship, an agency that can be counted on to use its broad authority with a steady hand and a measured approach, and I do not believe Mr. Bedoya is the right person to do this. I do not believe someone with his temperament and lack of experience and lack of knowledge about the issues will be able to put the Federal Trade Commission back on track.