Tomorrow the stage is set for the ultimate triumph of the Waxmanis: the predicted approval of the 100 ppm lead standard by 3-2 party line vote. The three Democrats will express regret, saying that Congress forced them to do it, and calling on Congress to let them make this standard prospective only. They will no doubt also assert that this is good for all of us, given that "there is no safe level of lead", that old chestnut unsupported by any injury data. No doubt the 100 ppm lead limit will fix all of these imaginary problems. The Republicans will note the pointlessness of it all, and remind us of the cost of the provision. Jobs will be lost. The Republicans will be right, but the Dems have a political agenda to implement, and you will be sacrificed. Mr. Obama's Executive Order will not give the Dems pause.
After three years, I am numb to this behavior. The Dem Commissioners are and have always been beyond reach, unimpressed by reason or data. That comes from a strong conviction of the correctness of their position with no need to reconsider. As Bob Adler's testimony at the Oversight hearing on July 7th indicates, the Dems are ever ready to defend the CPSIA faith. [Check out the testimony given in questioning by the estimable Jan Schakowsky.] Data, schmata.
For those of you who have expended energy, or committed resources, to providing information to the CPSC after three years on this provision (comment letters, testimony, etc.), please note that it was all a set-up. The decision facing the Commission is whether the 100 ppm lead level is "technologically feasible". The legislative definition of this term of art does NOT take into consideration cost, perhaps because every life is precious and of infinite value. It does not matter what it costs to comply, only whether it is somehow possible. CPSC Staff confirms that everything can be made without lead using this definition however absurd. So the Dems have no reason to vote against the new standard.
No reason . . . . Consider the views of the American Apparel and Footwear Association in a letter dated July 11, 2011 on this topic:
"We strongly urge the Commission to declare that it is not technologically feasible to meet the 100ppm standard for the simple reasons that: (a) it is impossible to meet a standard retroactively; (b) compliance cannot be assured because of continued issues with material variability, especially with metals; (c) compliance is complicated by the regulatory uncertainty generated by the technological unfeasibility issue as well as the ongoing delay in the so-called “15-month rule”; (d) the new standard will impose significant costs on manufacturers, costs which disproportionately affect smaller companies; and (e) inter-lab variability, especially at the lower limits, make consistent compliance impossible."
Details, details - the Dems DON'T CARE. Tomorrow the Commission will enact an egregiously out-of-whack rule from a cost-benefit standpoint a mere two days after Obama ordered the CSPC by name to review all rules for being overly burdensome. Yawn. After three years of this, what else would you expect?