Rep. Anna Eshoo and three other members of Congress want a federal investigation of whether outlet stores are engaging in misleading marketing practices.
In a letter sent Thursday to Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, and U.S. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.; Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.; and Ed Markey, D-Mass., urged a probe into whether companies sell lower-quality items produced specifically for outlet stores without properly informing consumers about the difference between those items and the higher-quality products found in regular retail stores.
“Historically, outlets offered excess inventory and slightly damaged goods that retailers were unable to sell at regular retail stores,” the lawmakers wrote. “Today, however, some analysts estimate that upwards of 85 percent of the merchandise sold in outlet stores was manufactured exclusively for these stores. Outlet-specific merchandise is often of lower quality than goods sold at non-outlet retail locations. While some retailers use different brand names and labels to distinguish merchandise produced exclusively for outlets, others do not. This leaves consumers at a loss to determine the quality of outlet-store merchandise carrying brand-name labels.”
The lawmakers cite news reports estimating the nation’s more than 300 outlet malls were expected to generate $25 billion in sales last year.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, and Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, are part of a Congressional delegation to Egypt that arrived in Cairo yesterday.
The delegation met today with Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi – commander in chief of Egypt’s armed forces, and the nation’s de factor head of state since February 2011 – and will be seeing other high-ranking Egyptian government officials, as well as civil society and religious minority leaders.
After meeting yesterday with Egyptian Deputy Foreign Minister Wafaa Bassim, Pelosi said the U.S.-Egypt relationship “is an important one I believe to both our countries, I know to the U.S. We have always had a relationship with the people of Egypt and we hope to continue that in a very important way. The strength of Egypt, its stability, is important to the region and to world, and we want to be helpful in that regard.”
Three Bay Area House members have just returned from a four-day, bi-partisan Congressional delegation trip to Iraq, Qatar and Israel, where they met with U.S. troops from the Bay Area as well as with military commanders and foreign leaders.
Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, issued a statement today saying he gained valuable insights on the region.
“I get a lot of good information in Washington, but when it comes to making tough decisions about our troops and our nation’s security it is also essential to get a first-hand view in critical parts of the world like Iraq and the Middle East,” he said. “The opportunity to meet face-to-face with U.S. military commanders and American troops on the ground to better understand the conditions there is invaluable.
“The troops we met with expressed a huge sense of pride over the daring mission that resulted in the killing of Osama bin Laden,” Miller continued. “Clearly, even the troops that were not directly involved in the raid were proud to be members of the military forces that accomplished it. And they have every right to feel that way. The mission was a huge victory for our country’s security efforts and for President Obama, U.S. military forces and the American intelligence community. And hopefully the death of bin Laden will hasten the return of American troops from the war in Afghanistan.
“Regardless of one’s position on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the men and women who serve this country day in and day out are to be commended. Their sacrifice and the sacrifices made by their families and friends is something that we must always keep in mind.”
The House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming held a hearing this morning on “Drilling for Answers on Oil and Gas Prices, Profits, and Alternatives,” at which executives from the five largest oil companies were asked about current oil and gas prices; their profits; and the need for clean, renewable fuels to ease demand for oil and cut global warming pollution.
The hearing’s backdrop is that as prices at the pump have risen sharply and oil companies are reporting record profits, the companies also are fighting to keep $18 billion in tax breaks that Congressional Democrats say should be rescinded and shifted to renewable energy incentives for wind, solar, biomass and other climate-friendly sources.
Here’s the opening statement from committee member Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton:And here’s committee chairman Ed Markey, D-Mass., lighting into Simon of ExxonMobil, which reported record profits of $40.6 billion in 2007: