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Letter to Representative Harris on Pending Legislation Relating to the Federal Trade Commission.

August 31, 1961

[Released August 31, 1961. Dated August 28, 1961]

Dear Congressman Harris:

I want to express my strong support for pending legislation to authorize the Federal Trade Commission to issue temporary cease-and-desist orders against the continuance of unfair practices while cases concerned with permanent relief from such practices are pending before that agency. I understand measures to accomplish that purpose are now pending before the House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce: H.R. 1233 and H.R. 1817, introduced by Congressmen Steed and Patman.

Effective law enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission has long been hampered by delays in litigation and an increasing backlog of cases. Despite a concerted effort to decrease these delays through recent revision of the Commission's organization and procedures, the basic difficulty requires additional remedies. At present, the Commission is powerless to halt allegedly illegal practices until the termination of frequently protracted proceedings. As a consequence, small businessmen who are so often the target of discriminatory and monopolistic activities are often irreparably injured or destroyed long before the lengthy process of adjudication has been completed. The proposed legislation will provide means to prevent such injury during that interim period. It will thus provide important protection for the small business community and, indeed, all those who are confronted by violations of the laws which seek to sustain our competitive economy. Such orders should, of course, be subject to the protection of appropriate due process, including the safeguards of judicial review.

The White House Committee on Small Business which f established in April and which includes representatives of the major Government agencies, has studied the proposed legislation and recommended its approval.

I have concluded that such legislation will provide essential protection for small businessmen and thus strengthen competition throughout the nation's economy. I am hopeful that Congressional action on behalf of the objectives of this legislation will be both expeditious and favorable.



[Honorable Oren Harris, Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, The House of Representatives, Washington 25, D.C.]

John F. Kennedy, Letter to Representative Harris on Pending Legislation Relating to the Federal Trade Commission. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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