Tester Champions Montana Priorities During Commerce Committee

Senator Grills Federal Trade Commission Nominees on Consolidation in Agriculture and the Failure of the Do-Not-Call List

(U.S. Senate)- U.S. Senator Jon Tester brought Montana priorities to the nominees of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing today. Tester, Montana’s only member of the Commerce Committee, pushed the four FTC nominees to answer questions about consolidation in agriculture and rampant telemarketing calls in Montana.

Tester, a farmer from Big Sandy, spoke about how large multinational corporations are unfairly raising costs for family farms across rural America and Montana.

“My school had 40 kids in my graduating class, now the whole school has 40 kids in it and we’ve seen that kind of depopulation across rural America,” Tester said. “If family farm agriculture goes away this country changes and not for the better.”

Tester urged nominees Joseph Simons, Rohit Chopra, Noah Phillips, and Christine Wilson to work together to ensure that small agricultural operations aren’t threatened by agribusiness. Four multinational companies control over 80 percent of the beef packing industry, over 60 percent of pork packing, and 50 percent of chicken processing.

Also, following reports of increased scam calls and Montana’s ban on robocalls being upheld by federal courts, Tester called on the FTC nominees to stop the intrusive telemarketing calls. Tester relayed the concerns of many Montanans noting that he also receives the obnoxious calls.

“How can we stop this garbage from going on? I don’t ask them to call me, they call me,” Tester said. “If I want to buy a hotel room I’ll call them. How do we stop this?”

Tester received assurances that the FTC and the FCC are having conversations and are working to explore technological solutions to this issue. Upon further questioning Tester was given a pledge that this will be a priority for the FTC.

“There’s no question this needs to be a priority for us,” said nominee Noah Phillips.