As ECADA moves toward a mark-up, possibly next week, the action over the CPSIA is happening elsewhere on the Hill. In yesterday's The Hill newspaper, it was announced that the pending Appropriations Bill knocks out all funding for the noxious CPSIA database.
It is symptomatic of the partisan gridlock in Washington that a policy debate has to be dealt with by withholding funds. The parties are simply unable to agree on anything. To agree is to give up political advantage. In gridlock, it is always possible to blame the other party and to paint them with whatever black brush is handy. This is particularly attractive to a minority party like the Dems in the House - they want their majority back. Thus, while the "defenses" for the absurdly over-reaching rules governing the database are almost laughable, the Dems posture as though any change threatens the American way of life.
That said, it's a good thing that the Appropriations Bill is doing the work that the House Energy and Commerce Committee hasn't done or perhaps cannot do. Brokering agreement with someone as unyielding and unreasonable as Henry Waxman is no small feat. Rationality and reason, not to mention good policy, have no apparent effect on this ideologue. He won't concede that Rep. Mike Pompeo, and the other database haters, have legitimate concerns. NO ONE is asking that the database die, just that it be a fair game for everyone. It's only because the Dems won't give a millimeter that you get the Appropriations Bill. If Energy and Commerce can't change the database, or the CPSIA, I commend the Appropriations Committee for taking action to protect American businesses from government-sanctioned slander. Somebody had to do it.
There's no telling where all this goes. The Republican majority in the House may be able to shine a light on the issues of the CPSIA, but since the Dems control the Senate and White House, it seems as though the Dems are capable of blocking progress. Three years of work have no persuaded one Dem of anything, by all appearances. [Hence my disillusionment, frustration and outrage.]
There is little sign that the Dems will give an inch - and you know what that likely means. You and I are (remain) screwed. Stasis means the 100 ppm standard gets implemented in two months, possibly retroactively. It means that you must continue to test internal components for phthalates and test and retest everything else endlessly without relief of any kind. It means that the 12-year-old age limit for everything stays in place, rhinestones and brass remain illegal (but osmium, iridium and ruthenium are still a-okay!), books and bikes and ATVs remain under the thumb of the CPSC, and many, many businesses will further weaken.
NO child will be safer, and NO injury will be avoided. The advocates can't provide evidence that ANYONE was EVER injured so there is no rational reason to believe this massive disruption will save a life or even a paper cut.
The battle lines are drawn. Perhaps now you know why I was so disappointed when only one wiener resigned from Energy and Commerce today. I can think of a few more that ought to go . . . .
VOTE FOR ECADA AND END THE CPSIA CHARADE!