Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The accuracy of credit reports is a key issue for us to examine as we consider reauthorizing the Fair Credit Reporting Act. I want to thank Chairman Shelby for giving us this opportunity to review and discuss these issues in greater detail.
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, credit bureaus must "assure the maximum possible accuracy of the information concerning the individual about whom the report relates." However, in recent hearings we have heard anecdotes about the harm caused to consumers who have had false information on their credit reports as a result of mistakes or fraud. It is my hope that as part of this effort we can agree upon positive steps to ensure greater accuracy in credit reports.
Recently my staff and I purchased copies of our credit reports as well as sample credit scores as preparation for our work on this issue. I was pleased to discover that my credit reports were entirely accurate and easy to understand. All of the information contained on the report was, in my opinion, appropriate and necessary. In addition, the sample FICO credit score gave simple and understandable explanations for the factors used in its determination.
We have, of course, heard testimony before this committee on the problems some consumers have faced with respect to the credit bureaus. In particular, Captain John Harrison - a victim of identity theft - described to us on June 19 how information that had been removed from his credit report reappeared later. One of our goals here should be to do all we can to prevent such things from happening in the future. These errors can truly wreak havoc in a person's life, with effects that can linger for years.
One positive sign that we are making progress was the truly bipartisan Fair Credit Reporting Act reauthorization bill recently introduced in the House. This proposal contains provisions that address many of the concerns voiced by consumer groups and the industry. The Administration also recently announced that it supports much of this approach, leading me to believe that we are well within sight of being able to sign off on a positive, consensus-based approach to reauthorization.
I want to take a moment to welcome Chairman Muris from the Federal Trade Commission, who is with us here today. As an alumnus of the FTC I thank you for taking the time from your busy schedule to discuss these issues with the Committee.
Mr. Chairman, I stand ready to work with you and the rest of our colleagues as we move towards achieving our goal of reauthorization this year. Thank you.