Monday, December 14, 2009

CPSIA - Waxman Amendment Update

A few tidbits:
  1. The Waxman amendment is expected to be attached to H.R. 3326 Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2010. It has not been added yet, but will be done just before it goes to the floor of the House, presumably sometime tomorrow. It is expected to appear on the House Rules Committee website at that time. Speaker Pelosi is apparently going to Copenhagen on Wednesday which is also expected to be the last day that the House is in session this year. Thus, this amendment is expected to pass into law by Wednesday as part of this unstoppable appropriations bill.
  2. Despite a flurry of frantic back room conversations, there appears little likelihood of change in the pending amendment language or terms. Mr. Waxman's staff is telling one and all that the amendment is the "best we can do" and if we don't like it, too bad for us. As noted, this amendment was written unilaterally by the Democrats with the cooperation of the Democrats on the Commission and without even showing the language to the Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee or on the CPSC Commission. Hearings, naturally, are OUT OF THE QUESTION. Nancy Nord commented on the Democrats' slight today: "While the amendment is less than clear legislative drafting, with its passage, Congress does acknowledge, for the first time, what many of us at the agency have been saying for many months–the inflexible nature of the CPSIA has limited the ability of the CPSC to minimize the unintended consequences of the law–hurting product sellers and limiting consumer choice while not advancing safety. This amendment was drafted in a closed and partisan process, without input from relevant stakeholders and its shortcomings reflect this flawed process." [Emphasis added.]
  3. The subterfuge of Mr. Waxman and his allies on the Commission has resulted in almost no media attention to this critical amendment. The press has barely picked up on it (there was a tentative mention in the Product Safety Letter tonight, but that's it as far as I can tell). This plays right into their hands by keeping the dissatisfied members of Congress at bay, something that's not particularly difficult when there is so much attention diverted to "fat cat bankers" and health care legislation, among other things. Still, keeping it out of the papers helps quite a bit.

One can only hope that these tactics will backfire. This much appears clear - the legitimate interests of the regulated community, the well-documented issues of businesses (large and small) under the CPSIA, have been totally ignored. Only a small group of politically-connected industries had the power to jump the queue. Nice for them, but lousy for those of us left behind.


jennifer said...

thank you for putting the pieces together and for the realistic updates.

Anonymous said...

Thank you . . . even though it's bad news, we want to know the news. So if the amendment goes through, can we stop worrying about old books, or are they still sticking by that one too?!

An Old Book Lover--who has 4 children who love old books too!

Rick Woldenberg, Chairman - Learning Resources Inc. said...

I believe the answer is yes, old books are outside the lead restrictions under this amendment. That said, we need to see what Mr. Waxman deigns to attach to the Defense bill. Until we see the final language, nothing is certain. You can see the amendment in its current form (to my knowledge) at The book exclusion is on page 4.

Mars Feeney said...

Excluding books from the CPSIA is good - they never posed any safety threat.

However, most of the products covered by the CPSIA pose no more lead threat than do books. If Henry Waxman believes they pose a lead threat then he must believe that books do to. So apparently he is willing to expose our children to the significant lead threat (in his mind) of books for politically expediency because books are a hot button issue.

By ignoring any critical input, by ignoring anyone who doesn't agree with him, by ignoring the science, by ignoring risk analysis, by putting together his little amendment in secret:

- Henry Waxman is making a mockery of transparency in government
- Henry Waxman is making a mockery of putting science back in government
- Henry Waxman is making a mockery of risk analysis
- Henry Waxman is making a mockery of bi-partisanship
- Henry Waxman is making a mockery of the core values the Democrats have been telling us they believe in.

- Henry Waxman is making a mockery of child safety

In short: Henry Waxman is making a mockery of Democracy.

And apparently the rest of the Democrats in Congress do not have the spine to stand up to him.

Before I started following the CPSIA I was proud to say I was a Democrat. Now I’m just embarassed!

Rick Woldenberg, Chairman - Learning Resources Inc. said...

Let's not forget that his buddy, ex-Congressman Tom Allen (D-ME), is CEO of the Association of American Publishers (AAP). Allen served under Waxman on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. It seems to me that books are a hot button issue because the people who are advocating for books are politically-connected. It's hard for me to concede that the pointless regulation of books under this law is any more pointless than the regulation of so many other things.