CPSIA Update: New Bill Helps Address Some of the Problems

By April 29, 2010Regulations

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce has now posted the prepared testimony from today’s subcommittee hearing on the proposed fix to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), draft legislation called the Consumer Product Safety Enhancement Act (CPSEA).

Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) acknowledged the CPSIA needs to be amended, conceding the point made by those who have advocated fixing the law’s draconian provisions. From his prepared statement:

Since enactment, the Commission has made great strides in carrying out this law, but some areas of implementation have not been smooth. We have heard from a number of stakeholders that certain provisions of the law may need adjustment. We have taken these concerns seriously and, over the past year, met repeatedly with stakeholders affected by the new law to understand their concerns and to craft an appropriate legislative response. These stakeholders have included small and large manufacturers, small and large retailers, thrift stores, and other used goods sellers, trade associations, consumer advocates, and the CPSC itself.
The draft text that we are here to discuss today is the result of this process. It is not a perfect solution, and it does not represent complete fulfillment of anyone’s wish list. As our witnesses will testify, however, it is a fair and reasoned measure that would grant significant and meaningful relief to many stakeholders while still protecting our children from dangerous products.

Rosario Palmieri, vice president for the National Association of Manufacturers, testified. His prepared statement provides a good history of the problems that occurred during implementation of the overreaching law, and acknowledges the progress represented by the new bill:

The CPSEA will begin to eliminate several of those unintended consequences I discussed earlier. Currently, products that present no risk to children from lead content like bicycles, motorcycles, ATVs, and snowmobiles have been effectively banned for sale. This legislation would amend the exclusion process to allow these products to once again be sold and be affordable. The NAM and its members appreciate the agreement of the Chairman and staff to further define critical words in the legislation such as “practicable” and “measurable adverse impact” in Committee Report language to give the CPSC the clear direction to apply reason, common sense, and sound analysis to decisions about granting exclusions. The CPSC must be able to review petitions for exclusion/exceptions immediately upon passage of this legislation. Any delay or necessity for the CPSC to write new rules to govern this process will put more manufacturing jobs at risk.

UPDATE (1 p.m.): Here’s Rosario’s oral testimony, an audio file with a full minute to spare!

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