VIDEO: Tillis Discusses His New Bill To Punish Price Gougers

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) introduced the Ending Price-Gouging During Emergencies Act, legislation that punishes individuals and businesses that price gouge essential medical supplies and other goods and services during a state of national emergency in response to pandemics and natural disasters.

For a summary of the bill, click HERE.

What motivated you to introduce this bill? What are you seeing and hearing from North Carolinians?

“We’ve gotten reports from doctors, health care facilities, and individuals that they’re paying five to ten times for products today that they were a month ago. We think that it’s inappropriate so we [introduced] a bill that’s going to allow the federal government and state governments to more aggressively go after price gougers.”

How does the bill work? How are the products selected during a national emergency?

“The National Emergency has been declared by the president under the Stafford Act. This is going to provide the administration, FEMA, the FTC with additional tools they need along with the Department of Justice to designate certain products that we will not allow price gouging, it shouldn’t happen on any products, but particularly the ones we’re most concerned with that affect public health. This is going to provide states with the ability to refer cases for prosecution at the federal level. It’s just upping the ante for people who are taking advantage of a crisis.”

How is the bill going to hold price gougers accountable?

“First off, it’s going to allow additional prosecution tools. We’re going to be able to prosecute people at the federal level, the states have their own anti-gouging laws so they can determine what cases they should refer to the federal government or actually follow it on two tracks.”

Does this bill have any impact on how the states go after price gougers?

“I think what it does, it provides the states with more tools to go after price gougers so they’ll continue to do what they’re doing. They can actually step up penalties at the state level. This gives them the help of the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission to really go after bad actors and end this practice now.”

What is your message to individuals out there or businesses who are trying to take advantage of this crisis and price gouge North Carolinians?

“The message should be clear: do not take advantage of the health care professionals that are working hard to keep people safe, do not take advantage of individuals who are trying to keep their families safe because if you do, you’re going to be held accountable.”

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