November 8, 1999
The Administration strongly opposes House passage of the version of H.R.
1714 that was considered by the House on November 1, 1999. The
Administration strongly urges the Committee on Rules to adopt a rule that
permits floor consideration of H.R. 3220 as a substitute amendment, which
the Administration endorses as an alternative to the text of H.R. 1714.
As the Congress was advised on November 1, 1999, in a previous Statement of Administration Policy on H.R. 1714 (copy enclosed), we share the view of the Congress that electronic commerce can play an important role in expanding our economy at the same time that it provides new benefits to consumers, and that States - and to the extent necessary, the Federal government - can assist the growth of electronic commerce by ensuring a predicable legal environment with regard to the validity of electronic signatures and contracts.
Unfortunately, H.R. 1714 overreaches in its efforts to accomplish this goal. The provisions of this bill on electronic records and electronic record retention unnecessarily deprive consumers of significant protections under current law. The bill deprives regulators of the ability to ensure that electronic disclosures and notices under existing consumer protection statutes will be made in a meaningful way. Under this bill, financial institutions could continue to make disclosures or notices electronically even if a consumer does not have, or never had, reliable access to a computer and never actually receives the notice. The bill would also preempt State laws too broadly.
H.R. 3220, by contrast, would:
The Administration supports these provisions, or any similar alternative or amendment that seeks to accomplish these critically important and more focused objectives.