The April 1 Fly-In, Rally and Congressional Briefing took place yesterday morning in Washington, D.C. in front of a Standing Room-only crowd. We had attendees who drove through the night to be there, and others that flew in from all over the country. In addition, we had many, many participants who joined us electronically, watching the streaming video or listening to the streaming audio online (http://www.amendthecpsia.com/) and "tweeting" and chatting all throughout the event. We know we had online participants from at least 43 States (Minnesota took the prize, in case you were curious), as well as Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, United Kingdom and Uruguay. This was a truly worldwide event involving an estimated 2,000 people (or more).
The speakers at the Rally included 16 small businesses or individuals (including an eloquent six year old dirt bike racer), one large business and three industry organizations (one was a last minute fill-in for a small business speaker who had to cancel for health reasons), three scientists, plus two Senators and six Representatives. Despite our efforts to entice their participation, we were disappointed to not have even one Democrat legislator as speaker. Notably, Mr. Waxman scheduled a last-minute committee meeting directly opposite our Rally, so presumably he was not favorably inclined to let his fellow Democrats visit HVC201 to be with us. His loss. . . .
Our impressive line-up of legislators engaged the attendees with news flashes like Rep. Joe Barton's announcement of the introduction of HR 1815 Consumer Product Safety Solutions Act of 2009 with 17 co-sponsors, and the revelation by Rep. Cliff Stearns that U.S. government scientists had admitted that the phthalates ban was an over-reaction and was unnecessary, as well as "Inside the Beltway" insights into the pending legislative process. Industry speakers made clear that the widespread and devastating gratuitous harm caused by the CPSIA criscrosses industry, regional and channel of trade lines, and the toxicologists were able to clarify that there is no public health "crisis" to solve or being solved by the CPSIA. Our individual speakers helped make clear that the law is making day-to-day life a lot less fun for many people, too - reducing our quality of life here in America. All together, our speakers made a compelling, reasonable, rational case against the misguided and misconceived CPSIA.
Bringing this convincing message to the Hill is only part of our challenge. Getting some legislative action is the goal. We have legitimized our stance, and proven that the ill effects are real and are not the imagination of easily dismissed "Mommy Bloggers" or "angry young men". Nonetheless, it remains our challenge to convince Democrats to act. Tragically, for reasons that are hard to comprehend, this has become a partisan mess, and the Democrats will not bend on the law, despite our efforts to expose the "unintended consequences" of this evil law. Despite Mr. Barton's entreaty that we can trust the Democrats to do the right thing for our country, the Dems remain resolutely, defiantly deaf to our pleas. Clearly then, our challenge post-Rally is to raise the din to higher and higher levels.
It is frustrating that our job is not done, but the reality is that it just isn't done. I believe that it is getting closer to the time when we must resort to more intensive political activism. If we cannot gain the cooperation of the Democrats, if they stick to their "Just Say No" policy while our businesses melt, our capital is depleted and our jobs are destroyed, our cherished family leisure activities are curtailed, our schools are deprived of needed supplies and teaching materials and our libraries become book prisons, we will have no choice but to identify better representatives and actively work on their behalf to send them to Washington to fix this mess.
The nonsense idea promoted by the Waxman/Rush/Rockefeller/Pryor axis is that the current CPSIA dilemma is somehow Nancy Nord's fault, and if she were replaced as Chairman of the CPSC, all would be well. This contention is hard to fathom in light of the last 23 decisions made by the two current Commissioners, all by a vote of 2-0. Yes, they have voted together 23 times in a row. Would a third vote change those outcomes or make the law any more coherent or flexible? The logic of this argument is baffling to many people - and the Democrats provide no details to back up their puzzling assertion. Perhaps the legislative leaders are looking for a Chairman that is willing to break the law . . . . The demands for a new Chairman are usually paired with a savaging of Nancy Nord for her "role" in this process. She apparently has had enough of the personal attacks, and sent a letter to President Obama dated April 1 (presumably not as an April Fool's joke) asking that he promptly appoint a new CPSC Chairman. In her letter, she helpfully documents the nasty mess the lucky candidate will inherit. No doubt that will be a handy recruitment tool for Mr. Obama. Not to worry though - Mssrs. Waxman, Rush, Rockefeller and Pryor have it all figured out, this next person will work miracles and we will all be delighted with the solutions they magically conjure up. Uh-huh.
The Democrats have a choice - fix the mess they created, or we will find somebody else to do it for them. As the old saying goes, Change the Man, or Change the Man. Henry Waxman, do you hear us?