Some interesting news items relating to tomorrow's exciting hearings at the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection featuring the testimony of CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum:
a. Rep. Joe Barton and Rep. George Radanovich wrote a letter stating their concern over the lack of small business witnesses at the upcoming hearing. Seems reasonable to me. This letter was highlighted in a BNA article today entitled "Commerce Panel Republicans ‘Concerned’ CPSC Oversight Hearing Lacks Balance".
George Radanovich wrote another letter in advance of the hearing giving hints about what to expect tomorrow. Rep. Radanovich's letter sets out a list of questions that he asks Ms. Tenenbaum to be prepared to answer. There seems to be a lot to discuss tomorrow. Watch for the interplay between these questions and previous testimony given by the CPSC to Rep. John Dingell last Spring.
b. We have today submitted more than 110 letters to Reps. Waxman, Rush, Barton and Radanovich submitted by you, the readers of this blog, protesting the incomplete consideration of the issues caused by this law. I have posted these letters here (group letters) and here, here, here and here (letters to individual legislators). The letters will also be posted at www.AmendTheCPSIA.com. This is a great expression of democracy in action. If, by some twist of fate, the Democrats decide to listen for a change, you will know you played an important role in bringing about change. Hopefully, before it's too late.
c. To complete the sense of circus, our dear friends, the consumer groups, decided it was time to issue some press releases to spread their propaganda. I have posted their pearls here and here plus a letter to Rep. Rush and Rep. Radanovich here. This disturbing set of documents continues to promote misleading notions about the law and safety itself. It is hard to read them and believe protecting consumers is their mission, as opposed to politics.
I frankly don't have the time or energy here to rebut their many misleading remarks (or worse). Here is a short list of objectionable claims from these documents. The answer to these claims has in many or all cases been discussed in this space previously.
- The CPSIA "equipped the agency with the authority it needs".
- Children's products will be "safer" because now they must be tested before sale.
- Children will be "safer" because the use of phthalates in children's products is now banned.
- The CPSIA empowers "the CPSC to exempt certain materials from the testing and certification requirements, and to relieve those manufacturers of products that are in no danger of violating the new standards." [Exemptions under Section 101(b) are ONLY possible for mateirals that cannot EVER possibly violate standards. No discretion is possible under the law. This is a FACT.]
- The stay on mandatory testing under the CPSIA allows companies "more time to come up to speed on the new rules".
- The basis for the CPSIA was "too many dangerous [imported] products . . . on store shelves, some seriously harming, and even killing, their customers".
- "The CPSC had neither the funds nor the regulatory authority to effectively solve these problems. . . ."
- "Consumers lost confidence in our product safety net because of the many recalls of children’s products and the numerous deaths and injuries posed by those products."
- "[T]he CPSIA turned voluntary standards for toys and other juvenile products into mandatory requirements which will help to ensure that those products meet safety standards." [Ms. Tenenbaum has publicly stated that voluntary standards are effective and work well. The statement made by the consumer groups appears to be factual but is actually only their political platform.]
And . . . according to the propaganda sheets, the following items are apparently "myths":
- CPSIA deadlines were unrealistic
- CPSIA provisions . . . make it harder to do business.
- CPSIA has to be changed through additional legislation to address business concerns about expensive testing and exemptions of certain products.
Finally they cite the AAP's uncontested but highly misleading testimony about lead. As you may recall, this testimony prompted the assertion that with its "perfect legislative process", the CPSIA was perfect, too, and thus would not be reopened. I have rebutted the AAP testimony on more than one occasion, most notably here.
You will be able to watch the hearing online at the website of the Subcommittee. Try this link and if it doesn't work, check out the website of the Subcommittee for a better link.