CPSIA Update: Activist Groups Actually Think the Law’s Working

By April 13, 2009Regulations

Incredible. And how arrogant. Despite thousands of first-person reports of businesses closing up shop, children’s books being destroyed, thrift stores deprived of used clothes and toys, mini-bikes and kids bikes being made illegal, some “consumer activists” regard the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act as a success.

From The National Law Journal, “Consumer bill sets off a furor“:

“Any legislative fixes at this point would be very premature,” said Public Citizen’s [Christine] Hines. “The most important issue right now is for Nancy Nord to be replaced. She was never a huge supporter of the law from the time of the year-long negotiations.”

Hines said the other commissioner, [Thomas] Moore, agrees that congressional intervention now would be premature.

“At this point, because there is so much difficulty at the agency in terms of agreement, the agency has taken a strict constructionist view of some of the language in the law,” said Hines. “I believe the new law gives the agency the authority to issue reasonable regulations. We still feel it has enough authority to address business concerns and to ensure that products are safe. The 2007 recalls and the uproar about unsafe products on the market tend to get lost in this debate.”

So nice that Public Citizen is now the official spokesman for Commissioner Moore.

But Nord and Moore have voted the same way on the last 23 votes. Replace Nord with a permanent chairman — as she herself has requested — and there’s no indication the commission will do anything differently.

Rick Woldenberg of Learning Resources Inc., a forceful advocate for CPSIA reform, responded recently to a hatchet job in ConsumerReports.org, which misrepresented a pro-reform rally and made the same, weak case as the Naderites at Public Citizen. Rick wrote:

Finally, you also mischaracterize the remarks of the Rally speakers as endorsing YOUR view that Nancy Nord is at fault for the delays and failures to issue exemptions that you assert. I do not recall Ms. Nord’s name or role being mentioned during any speech, and she was certainly not a focus of the day’s events. Speaking for myself, I do not agree with your statement at all, and would observe that the data shows that Acting Chairman Nord and Comm. Moore have voted 2-0 in their last 23 decisions. It is hard to understand the reasons behind the finger pointing at Ms. Nord or at Republicans in general if the Commissioners are apparently acting in bipartisan unison. Is it because attacks on Ms. Nord make a nice diversion from an examination of the law itself?

Yes. Yes it is.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Of course CPSIA is working! It’s not working toward the purpose Public Citizen has pretended is its purpose; rather, it’s working toward its actual purpose, which is to cement the “consumer” groups’ power to get Congress to do their bidding, and count coup on business at the same time. A bill that eliminates smaller businesses with shallower pockets, then makes it possible to sue the pants off the few that remain! Mission accomplished!

    Only an idiot would think they won’t try it again. They know it worked once, and their willingness to throw the ALA under the CPSIA bus shows they think they don’t need their support (or that the ALA’s support, as a liberal group, is assured). And they know CPSIA is going to fail, especially if they can keep using Nord as a human shield and can keep the Commission perpetually underfunded and understaffed. As soon as we see the next recall for the tiniest amount of lead paint, BOOM! there they’ll be accusing eeeevil mustachio-twirling businessmen of throwing safety to the wind, so that they can foment a new crisis and get yet another bill passed that declares open season on even more businesses.

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