Tuesday, April 27, 2010

CPSIA - Witness List for Thursday's Hearing in Washington

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce has posted its witness list and briefing memo on the web page for the upcoming hearing on the Waxman Amendment (CPSEA). Thursday's hearing is scheduled for 10 AM EST and will be webcast. I do not have a link to the webcast at this point and may not have it before the hearing. You should be able to find the link at the foregoing webpage. If you miss the hearing, it should also be available for later viewing on the Committee site. I will post that link when available.

The witnesses will be:

  • Rosario Palmieri, Vice President for Infrastructure, Legal, and Regulatory Policy, National Association of Manufacturers [N.b., the briefing memo says it will be John Engler.]
  • Paul Vitrano, General Counsel, Motorcycle Industry Council
  • Jim Gibbons, President and Chief Executive Officer, Goodwill Industries International
  • Dan Marshall, Handmade Toy Alliance
  • Steve Levy, American Apparel and Footwear Association
  • Rick Woldenberg, Chairman, Learning Resources, Inc.

The briefing memo states: "The following organizations support the text of this legislation and urge its enactment: the National Association of Manufacturers, the Retail Industry Leaders Association [Ed. Note: this is Wal-Mart and Target], the Motorcycle Industry Council, the Handmade Toy Alliance, and Goodwill Industries, Inc." So, four of the witnesses are already on record as supporting the amendment.

I haven't changed my view that the Waxman Amendment should be OPPOSED.

As if to amplify my point, the briefing memo hawks the amendment's beneficence to small business: "To this end, the legislation provides three major forms of relief . . . Relief for small batch manufacturers and other businesses by allowing the commission to approve alternative testing requirements for certain small batch manufacturers, by requiring CPSC outreach and assistance to small businesses, and by providing that the law’s phthalates limits shall not apply to inaccessible component parts."

As I have explained in the past, there are NO alternative testing methods available two years after passage of the CPSIA. Too bad for small business, huh? Thus, there is no possibility of relief under this provision. Still, the committee apparently thinks that "outreach and assistance" will do the trick. What is that, psychiatry for small businesses? There are days when I think I need it, too . . . .

It's also worth noting that the exception to the phthalates ban for inaccessible parts - portrayed here as some sort of small business bonus - was included in this amendment at the urgent request of two famous small businesses who consider it essential for the smooth operation of their businesses. You know them well, they have stores in your neighborhood - Wal-Mart and Target. Now that's some straight shooting by the Majority, isn't it?

Anyone still wondering why I feel small business is getting the short end of the stick?

I fail to understand why Wal-Mart and Target get the ears of this committee but small business interests are completely ignored or brushed over. This is a really sad turn of events for our federal government.

Remember, if the committee doesn't do the hard work of fixing this bill, REALLY fixing it, those of us who survive will be back. This issue isn't going away.

Tune in on Thursday. I'll do my best for you.


maddogmona said...

Good luck and thank you very very much.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rick:

"I fail to understand why Wal-Mart and Target get the ears of this committee but small business interests are completely ignored or brushed over."

You are kidding...right? Since this law was first enacted, it appears that the only reason for any "changes" was the large manufacturer or box companies.

Your views on this issue are pertinent to the facts in hand and it is a shame that those who have followed this since its inception are not allowed to "testify", for I beleive that you would clearly inform our representatives of what has gone wrong.

Melissa Zenz said...

I'm glad that you will be testifying on behalf of small businesses at the hearing. I'll be watching it live online tomorrow. Thank you again for your continued efforts to bring common sense and true relief for small businesses to this law. I'm also a member of the HTA, but I believe your voice most accurately represents the concerns of, and consequences to, my own small business.

Connie said...

Rick, you have many many people rooting for you in this David vs. Goliath match. You alone have the ability and willingness to represent everyone involved in this CPSIA mess. I am continually astonished at your ability to see all sides and the clarity with which you write about it. Your perseverance in the face of so many obstacles is admired and greatly appreciated. I hope people will listen carefully to what you have to say today.