CPSIA Update: It’s Time for a Senate Hearing

By October 29, 2009Regulations

When Inez Tenenbaum went before the Senate Commerce Committee on June 16 for her confirmation hearing to chair the Consumer Product Safety Commission, she eschewed substantive commentary on the controversial Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), saying she hoped to practice “common sense.” The disastrous CPSIA has provoked outrage among many business owners, but nominees often avoid hot-button topics and Tenenbaum’s reticence was accepted.

Still, Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR), chairing the session, did suggest she get up to speed and come back for a hearing he would call on the CPSIA, perhaps 60 days after her confirmation.

Well, the full Senate confirmed now-Chairman Tenenbaum on June 19, more than four months ago. She’s had time to travel to China, meet with many, many constituency groups and vote on CPSIA-related rules.

So it’s past time for the Senate and Tenenbaum to engage publicly on the business-destroying CPSIA. Today, 41 trade associations including the National Association of Manufacturers wrote Senator Pryor calling for a committee hearing on the new law. (Copy of the letter here.) The gist:

Consumer product safety is very important to the U.S. manufacturers and the retail community. To that end, the business community has made enormous and often costly efforts to comply with this important safety law. However, the CPSIA’s unintended consequences are causing confusion for consumers and economic damage to our members across the country, especially small businesses. Safe products are being pulled from store shelves because of fear, confusion, and a lack of guidance from the regulatory authorities.

As you know, the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection held an oversight hearing on the CPSIA on September 10. Chairman Tenenbaum was the only witness at this hearing.

At the Senate hearing, we hope that Chairman Tenenbaum will further detail how the agency will approach the unresolved implementation issues, and we urge you to allow other witnesses to testify at the hearing from the business community so that the Committee obtains a full picture of the outstanding issues related to the law. The manufacturing community appreciated the opportunity to testify before your subcommittee during the development of the CPSIA. As frontline stakeholders in the legislation, we believe the committee would similarly benefit from our perspective on the implementation of the CPSIA.

The various stays of enforcement issued by CPSC to temporarily resolve CPSIA implementation problems will soon expire, and a permanent resolution is needed. We believe that the Senate’s oversight role is extremely important in helping the agency implement common sense solutions to resolve these issues, and we strongly urge you to set a date for a CPSIA oversight hearing.

The list of the groups that joined the letter is in the extended entry below.

Alliance for Children’s Product Safety
American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA)
American Fiber Manufacturers Association
American Home Furnishings Alliance
American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA)
American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition
American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA)
Coalition for Safe and Responsible ATV Use
Consumer Electronics Retailers Coalition (CERC)
Consumer Specialty Products Association (CSPA)
Fashion Accessories Shippers Association (FASA)
Fashion Jewelry Trade Association
Franchisees of Once Upon A Child & Play It Again Sports (Winmark)
Greeting Card Association
Handmade Toy Alliance
Information Technology Industry Council (ITI)
International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions
Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA)
Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America
NARTS – National Association of Resale & Thrift Shops
National School Supply and Equipment Association
National Association of Manufacturers
National Bulk Vendors Association
National Retail Federation
National Textile Association
Northwest Children’s Business Alliance
Outdoor Industry Association
Promotional Products Association International
Real Diaper Industry Association
Soap & Detergent Association
Society of Glass & Ceramic Decorated Products
Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc.
Specialty Graphics Imaging Association
Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association
The Art & Creative Materials Institute, Inc.
The Coalition for Safe and Affordable Childrenswear, Inc.
The Hosiery Association
Travel Goods Association (TGA)
U.S. Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform

Leave a Reply