From Overlawyered.com, news of a Congress committee hearing planned and then unplanned on the damages to businesses by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. From CPSIA Chronicles, February 26:
A prime objective for critics of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act in recent weeks has been to obtain a hearing on Capitol Hill that might focus lawmaker and press attention on the law’s many unexpected and harmful effects. Now it looks as if that might be happening. Rick Woldenberg:
I have been invited to testify before the Subcommittee on Regulations and Healthcare of the House Committee on Small Business next Thursday. The purpose of this hearing is to explore Small Business issues related to the CPSIA. The Subcommittee is still looking for small businesses to testify. … If you are motivated to testify, you may want to reach out to the Subcommittee staff to volunteer, or if you have a Congressman on the Subcommittee, contact their Washington office urgently.
Rick Woldenberg is chairman of Learning Resources Inc., and one of the most effective voices of those whose businesses have been attacked and, in some cases, destroyed by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and its obdurate enforcement. But now ot appears he won’t have a chance to tell his story directly to Congress.
Again, Walter Olson at Overlawyered.com:
- UPDATE 5:45 p.m. Eastern: Well, that was quick. A source reports that Congressional staffers hastily announced that they’re canceling the hearing next week and that the idea is “not likely to ever be brought back”. Someone must have realized that letting people from around the country get in front of a microphone and talk about the effects of this law would not exactly do wonders for the image of Henry Waxman, Public Citizen, PIRG, or Consumer Federation of America. More: Rick Woldenberg confirms cancellation/disinvitation.
Rick comments, “This is the third time I have been invited and uninvited to testify before Congress. Mr. Waxman must be terrified to have me on the record. Say, Henry, what’s up? Why are you afraid of me?”
Well, rigid, righteous certitude is a more common attitude than fearfulness among many committee staffers who claim to be looking out for the consumers.
The Small Business Committee hearing was a good idea, allowing people to speak on the record to members of Congress who passed a bill that’s depriving them of their livelihoods — and depriving the public of desired and useful products. Granted, the committee has no relevant jurisdiction, so it couldn’t write legislation to fix the CPSIA, but the public would have least had an opportunity to speak.
And maybe a congressional hearing would have finally prompted the New York Times and the TV networks to cover the issue…which, as Walter Olson suggests, was probably the threat that led to the hearing’s cancellation.
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