CSPC: The Administration Objects to Provisions

By March 3, 2008Briefly Legal

The Office of Management and Budget today issued the Statement of Administration Policy on S. 2663, the CPSC Reform Act. Like the NAM, the Administration objects to granting attorneys general vast new authority to enforce federal product safety laws.

The Administration is strongly opposed to enforcement of CPSC safety standards by State attorneys general. Although progress has been made from the Committee-reported bill, the Administration continues to believe that safety standards should be exclusively established and then enforced by the CPSC. The CPSC is currently required to cooperate with other State and Federal entities in carrying out its enforcement duties, allowing them to receive input from outside parties. S. 2663, unlike its House counterpart, appears to give State Attorneys General broad powers to interpret what constitutes violations of the various acts enforced by the CPSC and allows States to pursue claims that the CPSC may have already determined are not violations of the Acts under its jurisdiction. This is likely to lead to a confusing patchwork of safety standards that will make it impossible to enforce uniform, national policies. Moreover, there is no apparent justification for the provision in section 20(g) creating a new and separate standard for the award of legal fees to State attorneys general that differs from the Consumer Product Safety Act’s existing general standards governing the award of legal fees.

The SAP did not include a veto threat, which suggests a willingness of the Administration to work on a compromise on the objectionable provisions; Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) told reporters he was uncertain a compromise was possible. Trust that’s bargaining.

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