Recall Aftershock: Consumer Safety Commission Brought Back From Near Death For Six Months

Congress just put your wiretapping dollars to work, by amending a homeland security bill to allow the Consumer Product Safety Commission to regain “its full authority to oversee the safety of thousands of household products,” says the Washington Post. The reprieve only lasts for six months, but during that time it allows the commission–which has been hobbling along in an inactive state since January because of an ongoing member vacancy–to meet and take action on matters of consumer safety with only two members present.

The amendment was triggered by the recent string of product recalls. Since January, the agency has continued to work with companies to initiate recalls, but only on a voluntary basis.

Readers may remember the small storm caused a few months ago by the President’s nomination of Michael Baroody, who was criticized by many for his past work as a leader of the National Association of Manufacturers, a lobbying group that has frequently opposed the work of the CPSC. Baroody withdrew his nomination in May.

Lawmakers Return Clout To Safety Commission [The Washington Post]

(Photo: Getty)

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  1. CumaeanSibyl says:

    I’m glad Baroody got shot down, but the powers that be really need to fill this vacancy.

    Here’s a question: how is it that, in our political system, it’s easier to pass a law to allow an understaffed department to operate normally than it is to fill the position? Is that a problem with the current administration’s tendency to nominate candidates without a chance in hell of passing, or is the appointment process itself too encumbered and sluggish to get anybody passed in a timely manner?

  2. golfinggiraffe says:

    Probably a bit of both. If you look at the matter of the Administration’s perspective, it was a win-win situation: either

    (a) They get a pro-business, anti-CPSC person appointed to the commission, or

    (b) They can’t get someone appointed at all and can claim how Congress isn’t watching out for the citizens; meanwhile, the commission is powerless.

    They probably didn’t expect the amendment.

  3. CumaeanSibyl says:

    I found some evidence for both sides, too.

    1) Bush waited for eight months to find a candidate. That’s ridiculous. Doesn’t he have someone whose sole responsibility is to keep track of vacancies that need filling?

    2) After Baroody got nominated, it took him about two months to get to the point where he decided he couldn’t win — and I suspect the full approval process would have taken at least another month, maybe two. That’s not so good either.

  4. I wanted to point out that just because I didn’t have a comment doesn’t mean I didn’t read this.

    Here’s a question: how is it that, in our political system, it’s easier to pass a law to allow an understaffed department to operate normally than it is to fill the position?

    @CumaeanSibyl: Maybe the process is run by HR people who take a year to make a decision.

  5. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: I’m sure a lot of people read it — it’s just that when something like that fudge article has 50+ comments, it sure looks a lot more popular. More comments also create more views; at the moment, this article has 676 views, while the fudge one has 7,088.

    So even if everybody read this article once, since nobody really commented, the fudge article wins out. I’d be posting stupid crap like that if I had a blog, too — it gets the readers in.

    That being said, it’s a wonder anybody manages to hire anyone with HR departments like the ones described there. Hey! I think you’ve just discovered the secret to the high unemployment rates! :)