The players are lining on either side of Rep. Mike Pompeo's brave amendment to de-fund the terrible CPSC public injury/incident database. The problem with the database is that it will likely be filled with garbage and malicious material that no manufacturer can effectively block. As you know, once the material is out on the Internet, it can't be retracted in any practical way. This prompted Wayne Morris of AHAM to call the database a government-sponsored "blog" at yesterday's Congressional hearing. Pompeo's amendment, no. 545 to the Continuing Resolution on the House Floor right now, is likely be to voted on later today, possibly in the wee hours of night. It's NOT too late to ask your Congressman to support it!
The National Association of Manufacturers sent out the following email and letter in support of Mr. Pompeo's amendment:
The NAM sent the following letter to all members of the U.S. House of Representatives supporting an amendment by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) to discontinue funding for implementation and operation of the CPSC's Product Safety Information Database for the remainder of this fiscal year to allow Congress the time necessary to fix the remaining challenges with the implementing rules. We expect a vote on his amendment #545 to H.R. 1 the Continuing Resolution sometime this evening. You are encouraged to share your support for this amendment to Members of the House."
And on the other side, Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) sent out a "Dear Colleague" letter in opposition. It contains the usual tired and worn posturing that we have endured for three years now. Interestingly, Mr. Markey did not attend yesterday's hearing of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade which concerned the database in large part. I guess there's no reason to listen to testimony if you know everything already, right?
"OPPOSE THE POMPEO #545 AMENDMENT ON CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY
From: The Honorable Edward J. Markey
Bill: H.R. 1
February 18, 2011
OPPOSE THE POMPEO #545 AMENDMENT
PROTECT PARENTS' ABILITY TO GET EARLY WARNINGS ON POTENTIALLY DEFECTIVE TOYS AND OTHER CONSUMER PRODUCTS
I write to urge a NO vote on amendment #545, which would eliminate funding for the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC’s) online, searchable database. This database enables members of the public to report and obtain information about potentially defective products that could cause serious injury or even death.
The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) passed the House by a vote of 424 to 1 and was signed into law by President Bush in August 2008. It contained language I originally authored to create this online “Early Warning System” for those who wish to report or research potentially harmful or defective toys and other products.
The need for this database is clear: Before its creation, it often took YEARS before the public ever learned of serious threats to health and safety that some products posed. For example, although both industry and the CPSC were first made aware that small magnets that easily fell out of children’s toys were causing serious, life-threatening injuries in 2000, it took FIVE years before the public was given any information, and more than SEVEN YEARS before a full recall of the products occurred.
The CPSC has implemented my database requirement in a responsible and reasonable way – it allows industry ten days in which to challenge the material accuracy associated with all reports and even provides the opportunity for industry to comment on reports it believes are erroneous, so consumers can hear both sides of the story.
Moreover, a recent poll found that eighty-seven percent of those surveyed want the ability to find out if another consumer experienced a safety hazard with a consumer product.
However, industry now wants to turn the clock back and return to a time when news of products that may maim or kill can be kept secret in the interests of maximizing profits and keeping the public in the dark.
VOTE NO on the Pompeo amendment to take this vital safety tool away from mothers and fathers all across this country.
Edward J. Markey"