763 days have passed since ANY Democrat in Congress did ANYTHING to help us on the CPSIA. There are only 47 days left until Election Day.
I have written in this space about the recent shocking release by the CPSC of the final rule on the interpretation of the term "Children's Product" under the CPSIA. The agency's official interpretation of this defined term will dictate the creeping scope of the awful CPSIA and likewise has the potential to trim its sails. Many people gave detailed comments on the agency's troubling initial draft of the interpretative rule, including me. I bashed the rule for its many problematic flaws.
The release of the final rule was stunning because, as I have noted again and again, the agency basically ignored or dismissed ALL comments on its draft rule and more or less installed the draft law as "final". I interpreted this move as signalling the end of the CPSC's rulemaking phase under the CPSIA. I assert that this came about as a result of a directive "from the top" to stop dithering and finalize the rules NOW, damn the consequences.
Why stop writing rules now? The CPSIA rulemaking process has left the agency and its Dem leadership exhausted and impatient. The Dems do not want to spend any more time writing rules - they want to start catching "crooks". The remarkably small number of consumer injuries by products regulated under the CPSIA is no deterrent to these people - the Dems were given their jobs to catch bad guys, and catch (and perhaps manufacture) bad guys they will. As Ms. Tenenbaum has promised time and again, 2011 will be the year of enforcement. This promise implies a couple things: CPSIA rules need to be finalized quickly AND the testing stay must be lifted in February 2011. Oh yeah, the testing stay, almost forgot about that little guy . . . . Thus, time is running out on rulemaking and hence the agency's need to ignore our comments - no matter that their rules are shamelessly fouled-up and defective.
Congress "wants" it this way, or at least Mr. Waxman and his staffers insist on it. The Dems on the Commission are there to play ball.
In case you doubt my "paranoid" theory, check out the CPSC website today. Anyone notice that something is missing? Where's the CPSIA banner today? The law is now listed below in small type. The CPSIA is over, it's so yesterday . . . .
And if you buy the foregoing, then the pending rulemakings on component testing and reasonable testing programs/testing frequency should have you fouling your pants. Those two "bad boys" have pushed me into politics. I am trying to stave off disaster - I believe the agency will turn those deadly draft rules into final rules simply to avoid extending the testing stay and further to avoid delivering a very unwelcome message to Mr. Waxman that his masterwork law is thoroughly defective. And if the Dems rush it, they can inflict all this damage before Republicans can save the day after retaking the House and Senate. Tea Partiers, please take note.
But wait . . . there's something up at the CPSC. The rule on Children's Product was originally scheduled for a rubber stamp vote on September 9th. Then it was rescheduled for September 15 and then pushed forward to September 22. What's up with this?
Normally, the delay of a rubber stamp action means there is a big disagreement behind closed doors and Commissioners are duking it out in private shuttle diplomacy between staffers. [Sunshine Act rules prohibit a meeting of more than two Commissioners without holding a public meeting that you can witness - so disputes are resolved using intermediaries. Just like in the Middle East, working through third parties is a great way to work out disputes . . . .] In other words, somebody on the Commission may actually know how shameless it is to ignore legitimate and fair comments in a public rulemaking process, even if those darned comments are so inconvenient. And, ouch!, if they must remodel the rule, they might have to release it subject to another comment period. Another comment period could pose BIG problems for the testing stay, creating a real dilemma for our Dem friends. If they push out the stay AGAIN, that more or less seals it - they clearly need infinite years to implement the CPSIA, which confirms that it is a thoroughly defective law.
And there is also the looming possibility of a Commission quorum problem. What?! Well, Commissioner Thomas Moore's term ends in late October and he can only serve until year end. Then things get very complicated. If he is not replaced promptly, OMG, it's a deadlocked Commission again! Tenenbaum and Adler won't be able to get their way anymore - AW SHUCKS! - they MIGHT actually have to listen to Nord and Northup at least until another Obama puppet is put in place. And if the Senate goes to the Republicans, it might be pretty hard to confirm the usual zealot. Hmmm.
See the reason for the urgency yet???
The whole situation makes me want to tear my hair out. I have a business to run - can you IMAGINE being held hostage by this kind of idiocy in your own government? Well, we ARE being held hostage by our own dysfunctional government.
Tea Partiers, and anyone with a reawakened sense of OUTRAGE, take note. Election day is November 2nd, in case you didn't hear. . . .