Senate CPSC Reform Compromise Leaves Everyone Bitter, Unsatisfied

Nobody likes the compromise reached by Senators to reform the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Industry thinks the revised plan goes too far, while consumer groups want more. For now, the compromise would allow the CPSC to operate without a quorum, inject needed cash into the Commission, and provide for several other nifty provisions.

  • The CPSC would create a consumer complaint database that lists death, injury and illness reports, a provision absent from the House bill.
  • State attorneys general would be allowed to seek injunctions for violations of federal law, but would not receive broad enforcement powers.
  • Whistleblower protection would be extended to private-sector employees, and whistleblowers would be allowed to sue for damages up to $250,000.
  • Maximum fines would rise from $1.8 million to $20 million—far less than the $100 million approved by the House.

Congress should arm state attorneys general with broad enforcement powers and authorize staggering fines that can threaten the reputation and wallet of any company. Still, the current compromise would give consumers more than the pitiful excuse for protection that we currently endure. Even if the bill passes in its current form, consumers need and deserve Commissioners who are willing to wield the tools Congress provides.


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  1. NefariousNewt says:

    Well, it’s a start. I for one am not complaining, as it seems the Senate has actually done something useful for a change.

  2. Radoman says:

    All good government comes from compromise. I too am pleased to see a bit of work coming out of congress. I am also entirely sick of party coming before the actual issue at hand.

    We need more folks crossing the aisle in both directions to get stuff done around here. We shall see if this actually passes or gets a $50 bajillion dollar earmark attached to it. We’ll call it the “CPSC reform/elevator to space initiative”

  3. Anyone care to lay odds on a veto? Business shall be trusted at all costs in this administration.

  4. nequam says:

    Sad that this post (so directly concerning consumer issues) has generated so few comments compared to recent posts about funny entries on restaurant receipts.

  5. alstein says:

    A veto would hurt the Republicans at the poll, so I think this one would go through.

  6. CumaeanSibyl says:

    @nequam: If only one of the CPSC members were overweight.

  7. Ghede says:

    Considering I understand the code of computers better than the code of law, All I can say is I absolutely love that image.

    A shocker, I know.

  8. Angryrider says:

    Ugh… []

    “The time for testing tolerances is over.” So my patience ran out quite a while ago, what took them so long?

  9. mikelotus says:

    @arstal: you are kidding right? The extension of the health care for poor children was supported by over 70% of Americans, a majority of Republicans and not quite enough Senators and Congressmen to over ride a veto and it was vetoed. Making water boarding illegal will be vetoed. Guarantee that will not help Republicans either. Bush is clearly driving off a cliff for the last several years and what is amazing is how many Republicans are still in the car with him. It does explain why 28 Republicans in Congress have now retired with more coming though. The word in DC is slaughter in the next election.

  10. Kadun says:

    What I find interesting and very funny is when Bush gets blamed for people having acne:-) Can we have a little common sense here. Congress is Democrat dominated. Bush has less veto power than a state governor so when liberals get mad, do they call their representatives? Not on your life. They blame Bush.
    It’s easier than recognizing the real problem.