WASHINGTON— Congressman Ted Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) and Congressman Joe Neguse (CO-02) introduced legislation to prohibit raising the price of essential goods and consumer products in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Price gouging is the predatory practice of raising the price of consumer goods in response to pandemic-induced demand from consumers.This bill would prohibit such practices throughout the COVID-19 public health emergency, as well as during future national emergencies. The legislation directs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to enforce the ban and is based on a California anti-price gouging statute, CA Penal Code Section 396, which prohibits raising the price of many consumer goods and services by more than 10% after an emergency has been declared.
“Taking advantage of consumers during a public health emergency is wrong,” said Congressman Ted Lieu. “A lot of large and small businesses are stepping up to produce necessities for our communities and our healthcare workers, but there are still opportunistic merchants trying to make an extra buck on panic. I’m grateful to partner with Rep. Neguse on the Price Gouging Prevention Act, which will protect consumers from being forced to pay astronomical prices for what are ordinarily affordable basic goods and necessities.”
“It is unacceptable that Americans across the country have been forced to pay higher prices for basic essentials and supplies in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “Absent a coordinated Federal response, I fear many preventative products will continue to be out of reach for American consumers, thereby placing their health and their family’s health at risk. The Price Gouging Prevention Act will not only protect American consumers throughout the duration of the coronavirus public health emergency, but future national emergencies as well.”
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