CPSIA Update: A Hearing This Morning on the CPSC

By September 10, 2009Regulations

From the House Energy and Commerce Committee:

Consumer Product Safety Commission Oversight: Current Issues and a Vision for the Future
Friday, 04 September 2009 12:52

The Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection will hold a hearing titled, “Consumer Product Safety Commission Oversight: Current Issues and a Vision for the Future” on Thursday, September 10, 2009, in 2322 Rayburn House Office Building.


* The Honorable Inez Moore Tenenbaum, Chairman, Consumer Product Safety Commission

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act became law on August 14, 2008, and this is the first hearing on the law from a committee of jurisdiction.

Many of the individuals, groups and industries who have been severely harmed by the CPSIA are furious at the hearing being limited to just one witness, Chairman Tenenbaum, believing the lack of business and especially small business testimony will frustrate an open discussion of the law’s excesses.

Here’s the American Motorcyclist Association: “Congressional hearing set for Thursday to get information on the law that bans the sale of dirtbikes and ATVs for kids”

And a letter from the Handmade Toy Alliance.

The Washington Times editorialized today, chiding Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA), who has repeatedly rejected an open debate of the law’s deleterious impact on manufacturers and consumers. From “Waxman stifles dissent.”

On Sept. 8, the two congressmen wrote to the chairman again: “We are concerned, however, that a hearing presenting only the opinions of Chairman Tenenbaum, without a second panel of witnesses representing family-owned retailers, tribal stores, toymakers and other affected parties, is very unlikely to cover the surprising and distressing practical problems that have arisen in connection with the implementation of the new law.”

Mr. Waxman never responded to that letter. “The Energy and Commerce Committee is aware of the letter and is taking the request under consideration,” a committee spokesman e-mailed The Washington Times yesterday.

Somehow, we doubt an invitation to outside parties will be issued by the meeting’s 10 a.m. start. A follow-up hearing is warranted. As the old expression goes, the committee ought to “get the lead out” by holding that hearing soon.

We’re a bit more optimistic about there being a worthwhile discussion of the issues today, but if Congress is going to pass laws that cause such harmful unintended consequences, it should hear from the people.

UPDATE (1:30 p.m.): More than 100 small businesses sent letters to the committee, an effort organized by Rick Woldenberg and the Alliance for Children’s Product Safety. From the news release:

Whether or not the Subcommittee wants to hear about it, the evidence to date demonstrates that the CPSIA has created chaos and losses for businesses, limiting choices for consumers and creating bureaucratic nightmare for companies trying to comply with the law – all without improving product safety. It’s time for Congress to fix this law.

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