WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Chamber of Commerce, which speaks for U.S. businesses, said Tuesday that it opposes a bill aimed at restoring the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s power to force deceptive companies and scam artists to return ill-gotten gains.

The Chamber is concerned about a Senate bill introduced last week that would explicitly give the FTC the authority to ask a judge to order money be returned to consumers.

The FTC had been suing deceptive companies and scam artists for decades to recover funds but was stopped in April 2021 by the Supreme Court, which ruled that the agency went further than it could legally in extracting money following wrongdoing.

“This legislation would grant entirely new and sweeping enforcement powers to the Federal Trade Commission,” Chamber Executive Vice President Neil Bradley said in a letter, adding that the bill “had no meaningful bipartisan or stakeholder involvement.”

The letter was addressed to Senator Maria Cantwell, chair of the Senate Commerce Committee and a lead sponsor of the bill, as well as Senator Roger Wicker, the top Republican on the committee.

In the five years before the 2021 Supreme Court decision, the FTC returned $11.2 billion to consumers, Cantwell’s office said last week.

Given the Supreme Court decision, the FTC needs Congress to expressly give it authority to recover such funds. The House of Representatives passed similar legislation to the Senate bill last year. The Commerce committee is expected to vote on the bill on Wednesday.

A Chamber source said the Chamber believes the 10-year statute of limitations in the bill is too long, the bill should be limited to hard core fraud rather than deception or competition matters and should only seek relief for actual harm done.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; editing by Richard Pullin)