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Consumer Groups Call On President And Congress To Pursue Strong Consumer Agenda

Groups present agenda for nine major priorities to help consumers as President's second term, new session of Congress begin

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In joint letters to President Obama and Congressional leaders, eight of the nation's leading consumer organizations today urged policymakers to pursue a strong, robust agenda of consumer reforms.

With the President's second term and a new session of Congress underway, the groups are calling for measures to strengthen the consumer's voice in Washington, to continue improvements in health care and financial services, and to ensure that Americans' food and products are safe.  They are also advocating for energy and telecommunications reforms, policies to strengthen regulations that protect the public from harm, consumer legal rights, and actions to ensure the marketplace is fair, open, and competitive.

The letter was signed by presidents and executive directors of Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, National Association of Consumer Advocates, National Consumers League, National Consumer Law Center, Public Citizen, and U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

"The agenda we are providing today is a key starting point for our recommendations regarding the top issues for consumers," the groups wrote.  "By working together and helping consumers make more informed decisions, we are building an influential consumer movement that will be a force for change."

Under the heading "An Agenda to Ensure Consumers are Heard" the groups laid out nine major initiatives that the White House and Congress should adopt in the next Administration and in the new Congress:
  • Elevate the consumer voice in government by reinstating the key position of the White House Special Advisor on Consumer Affairs, holding regular meetings with consumer leaders, and convening a White House conference on the state of the consumer today.
  • Continue to work to make health care affordable, accessible, and safe through measures such as protecting funding for the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, and Medicaid by reducing wasteful and unnecessary spending, not cutting services or shifting costs to consumers.
  • Continue to protect and expand upon the financial consumer protections secured in recent years, including the newly-created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  • Ensure our food and products are safe by moving forward on still-pending food safety rules and implementing tougher standards for products, such as infant and toddler items.
  • Provide consumers with affordable and sustainable energy options by forcefully addressing climate change and promoting clean-energy initiatives.
  • Ensure that the Internet and other telecommunications services remain affordable and accessible, and consumers' privacy is protected.
  • Support regulations that improve our quality of life and protect our health and safety, as well as oppose efforts to undercut the regulatory rulemaking process.
  • Improve consumer access to justice by reinstating legal rights.
  • Protect consumers by ensuring open, competitive and fair markets through tough enforcement of antitrust prohibitions on anticompetitive mergers and cracking down on monopolistic practices that lead to higher prices and fewer choices for consumers.

The letters were delivered to the White House and Senate Majority Leader Reid, Senate Republican Leader McConnell, Speaker of the House Boehner, and House Democratic Leader Pelosi.

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