57th Annual Consumer Assembly
Tuesday, May 16 and Wednesday, May 17, 2023
Courtyard Marriott Washington, Downtown – 901 L St, NW

Tuesday, May 16

9:00am-9:05am ET
Welcome & Keynote Introduction

Susan Weinstock, CEO
Consumer Federation of America

9:05am – 9:30am ET
Keynote Address: Your Consumer Advocate on the CPSC

Richard L. Trumka, Jr.
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

9:30am – 10:00am ET
Keynote Address: The Fight for Fairness in the Unfriendly Skies: Consumer Protection and the 2023 FAA Reauthorization

Senator Edward J. Markey (MA)
United States Senate

10:00am – 11:00am ET
A Good Clean Flight: Airline Consumer Protections in 2023

The year 2022 was a stressful year for air travel consumers. As the pandemic restrictions eased, consumers returned to flying, but critics argue that the air travel industry fell short of meeting many consumer expectations and increased demand. Legislators and regulators have offered different opinions about the causes, effects, and potential solutions, and this panel will identify some of the most salient issues facing air travel consumers today. The panel will bring the perspectives of consumer advocates, passengers with disabilities, and travel agencies to talk about what issues should be considered as the air travel industry faces widespread calls for change.


Lori Aratani, Reporter
The Washington Post


Heather Ansley, Associate Executive Director of Government Relations
Paralyzed Veterans of America

John Breyault, Vice President of Public Policy, Telecommunications and Fraud
National Consumers League

Laura Chadwick, President and Chief Executive Officer
Travel Technology Association

11:30am – 12:30pm ET
The First Amendment as Corporate Cudgel: Designing Consumer Protection Policy to Survive the Courts

Recent federal caselaw has expanded First Amendment protections for commercial speech, with significant implications for consumer protection policies. Data privacy laws, restrictions on advertising, warning labels and a potentially wide range of other types of required disclosures may now face constitutional challenges from regulated business. How should consumer advocates respond to this new legal landscape? How can consumer protection policies avoid First Amendment conflict? A panel of experts will discuss.


Justin Hansford, Professor of Law
Howard University School of Law
Director, Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center


G.S. Hans, Associate Clinical Professor of Law, Associate Director, Stanton Foundation First Amendment Clinic
Cornell Law School

David C. Vladeck, A.B. Chettle Chair in Civil Procedure
Georgetown Law
Former Director, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission

Allison Zieve, Director
Public Citizen Litigation Group

1:15pm – 2:00pm ET
The FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection in 2023: A Fireside Chat with Sam Levine and Ira Rheingold

The FTC’s Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection Sam Levine and longtime consumer advocate and expert Ira Rheingold will discuss the FTC’s recent expanded focus on consumer protection initiatives within the Bureau of Consumer Protection. Ira and Sam will discuss how the FTC has approached rulemaking, data privacy, dark patterns and more.


Samuel Levine, Director
Bureau of Consumer Protection
Federal Trade Commission

Ira Rheingold, Executive Director
National Association of Consumer Advocates

2:00pm – 2:45pm ET
The Disparate Experiences of Hispanic Households during the Recent Inflationary Period

Anna Flores, Interim Executive Director
Consumer Action


Tonantzin Carmona, David M. Rubenstein Fellow
Brookings Metro

Rajashri Chakrabarti, Head of Equitable Growth Studies
Federal Reserve Bank of New York

2:45pm – 3:45pm ET
Standards of Conduct for Investment Professionals – Where Are We?

In the wake of the DOL fiduciary rule for retirement investment advice being struck down in 2018 by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, different regulatory bodies have updated the standards that apply when different financial professionals provide investment advice and recommendations about different investment accounts and products. For example, the Securities and Exchange Commission promulgated Regulation Best Interest for broker-dealers in 2019 and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners updated its suitability rule for the sale of annuities to consumers in 2020. In addition, the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards updated its Code of Ethics and Standard of Conduct requiring CFP Professionals to comply with a fiduciary duty at all times when providing financial advice to clients. This panel will explore whether these new standards have provided investors with the protections that ensure advice is truly in investors’ best interest and that sales-driven conflicts of interest don’t taint the quality of recommendations. To the extent stronger protections are needed, this panel will consider how we ensure that investors receive such protections.


Sarah Mysiewicz, Government Affairs Director 


Stephen Bouchard, Associate Commissioner for Securities
District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking

Kamila Elliott CFP®, CEO and Senior Wealth Advisor
Collective Wealth Partners

Micah Hauptman, Director of Investor Protection
Consumer Federation of America

Christine Lazaro, Director
Securities Arbitration Clinic
St. John’s University

3:45pm – 4:00pm ET
Virtual Keynote Address

Senator Corey Booker (NJ)
United States Senate

4:00pm – 5:00pm ET
The Continuing Epidemic of Medical Debt

In 2022, the CFPB estimated that consumers had $88 billion in medical debts on credit reports. Kaiser Health Network estimates that more than 100 million consumers — or 41% of adults — are saddled with health care debt. However, a disproportionate portion of Black, Hispanic, and low-income consumers struggle with medical debt. In addition, medical debt is more common in the Southeast and Southwest because those regions did not expand Medicaid coverage. Last year, the three biggest credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, announced changes to how they report medical debt which will amount to removing nearly 70% of medical debt. President Biden subsequently announced government-wide actions to lessen the burden of medical debt on American families. Although these were positive steps forward for America’s consumers, medical debt still remains a significant problem for consumers, especially Black and Hispanic and under and uninsured consumers, and can have a serious impact on a consumer’s ability to secure housing, loans, insurance, or even jobs. This panel will delve into the growing issue of medical debt, the systemic failures that have caused this epidemic, and how recent reforms are both promising and still fall short in sufficiently addressing the issue.


Berneta Haynes, Staff Attorney
National Consumer Law Center


Noam N. Levey, Senior Correspondent
Kaiser Health News

Jared Walker, Founder
Dollar For

Marceline White, Executive Director
Economic Action Maryland

Wednesday, May 17

8:00am-8:45am ET
Breakfast Dialogue: State Advocacy Efforts to Stop Fintech Evasions

Over the last few years, we have seen fintech providers turn to creative ways to evade state laws, including earned wage advance products and other fintech payday loans. Bills to carve these products out of existing usury and consumer protections have been introduced across states, and there are discussions at a federal level for similar legislation. Fundamentally, American workers should not have to pay to be paid, and payday lenders should not be able to evade the law by claiming that they are paying earned wages or by disguising interest as “tips” or other fees. Although these fintech payday loans may have advantages over traditional payday loans, they are not without risks and should be subject to sufficient oversight and regulation. This panel will delve into advocacy efforts to stop evasions of existing consumer protection laws and what more needs to be done to ensure consumers are protected at the state level.


Lauren Saunders, Associate Director
National Consumer Law Center


Liz Coyle, Executive Director
Georgia Watch

Carrie Hunt, President/CEO
Virginia Credit Union League

Dana Wiggins, Director of the Center for Economic Justice
Virginia Poverty Law Center

8:45am-8:50am ET
Welcome & Introduction

Susan Weinstock, CEO
Consumer Federation of America

8:50am – 9:15am ET
Keynote Address: Ten Lessons for Consumer Advocates

Sandra Eskin, Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety
United States Department of Agriculture

9:15am – 9:45am ET

Senator Sherrod Brown (OH)
United States Senate
Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs 

9:45am – 10:45am ET
Process that Matters: Ensuring that the Regulatory System Works for the Public Interest

How agencies promulgate rules to ensure that our marketplace is fair, air and water are clean, and cars, products, and food are safe is an essential aspect of a democratic government. As public interest organizations, how do we make the process more transparent and participatory? What are the biggest challenges impacting rules and the rulemaking process in Congress and in the courts? How can this Administration make a lasting impact on the regulatory process? We will discuss these questions with our expert panel.


Rachel Weintraub, Executive Director
Coalition for Sensible Safeguards


James Goodwin, Senior Policy Analyst
Center for Progressive Reform

Brielle Green, Senior Legislative Counsel
Access to Justice, Regulatory Reform and Judicial Nominations

Adina Rosenbaum, Attorney
Public Citizen

10:45am – 11:45am ET
Climate Risk and the Growing Insurance Gap – Insurance Reforms for a More Resilient Future

As climate change increases the risk of catastrophic property loss, consumers face escalating insurance premiums and even a withdrawal by insurers from some communities. A growing insurance gap is leaving many low-income communities and communities of color without the resilience to bounce back after disaster strikes. While some insurance companies and regulators are starting to integrate climate risk into their management and oversight decisions, most insurance companies continue to underwrite, invest in, and profit from fossil fuel and other climate harming ventures. Meanwhile, the unregulated, private reinsurance markets are tightening up due to climate risk, making it harder for insurers to offload as much of the catastrophic risk as they want. This panel will discuss the burdens facing consumers due to climate risk, the way insurance industry decisions impact climate risk, and the policy and advocacy strategies to address these challenges.


Susanna Montezemolo, Policy Development and Integration Director
Consumer and Livable Communities Issues


Birny Birnbaum, Executive Director
Center for Economic Justice

Carly Fabian, Policy Advocate, Climate Program
Public Citizen

Lilith Fellowes-Granda, Senior Policy Analyst
Financial Regulation and Corporate Governance
Center for American Progress

Representative Edmond Jordan
State Representative
Louisiana House of Representatives

11:45am – 12:45pm ET
The CFPB’s Integral Work

Established through the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was created to promote financial stability, transparency, and competition, and is the only federal financial regulator tasked with making consumer financial markets work for consumers. Over its nearly 13 years in existence, the CFPB has recouped more than $14 billion for more than 192 million consumers, enforced consumer protection laws against nearly 300 companies, ordered more than $1.8 billion in civil money penalties as a result of enforcement actions, and processed more than 3 million consumer complaints against financial companies. In 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that the CFPB’s funding mechanism is unconstitutional. This decision has serious ramifications for not only the CFPB’s ability to protect consumers, but also for other federal agencies that are similarly funded outside of the congressional appropriations process. This panel will explore the unique and critically important role the CFPB plays in protecting consumers of color, low-income consumers, small businesses, workers, rural consumers, servicemembers and veterans.


Rachel Gittleman, Financial Services Outreach Manager
Consumer Federation of America


Kiyadh Burt, Vice President of Policy & Advocacy & Interim Director
Hope Policy Institute

David Seligman, Esq., Executive Director
Towards Justice

Naomi Smith, Policy Program Manager
Main Street Alliance

Cory Titus, Director, Servicemember
Compensation and Veteran Benefits
Military Officers Association of America