I am today signing the Federal Trade Commission Improvements Act of 1980 into law. For the first time in 3 years there will be a specific authorization statute in effect for the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC can resume fulfilling its mandate to safeguard the integrity of our national marketplace.
This bill contains some valuable features patterned after my program to eliminate excessive regulation. It requires that FTC rules be based on sound economic analysis. Another provision directs the agency to find the least burdensome way of achieving its goals.
Other aspects of the legislation are less satisfactory. Section 21 provides for a two-house congressional veto of FTC final rules. This provision is both unwise and unconstitutional. I am signing this bill despite the congressional veto provision, because the very existence of this agency is at stake. Under the bill, a suit to test the legislative veto provision can be expedited, and I look forward to such a court challenge.
We need vigorous congressional oversight of regulatory agencies. But the reauthorization bills passed by the Senate and the House went beyond such oversight and actually required termination of specific, major, ongoing proceedings before the Commission. I am pleased that the conferees have modified these provisions. If powerful interests can turn to the political arena as an alternative to the legal process, our system of justice will not function in a fair and orderly fashion.
Enactment of this bill has been a complicated, often frustrating process for the House and Senate conferees and for the members and employees of the Federal Trade Commission. I appreciate the cooperation of Congressmen Scheuer and Broyhill, of Senators Ford and Danforth, and of Chairman Michael Pertschuk in molding a compromise bill that permits the FTC to continue to protect the consumers of our Nation.