Pryor Seeks to Restore Consumer Product Safety Commission
Senator Mark Pryor today applauded action by the Senate Commerce Committee to allow the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to carry out its mission to ensure product safety for over 15,000 consumer products. His amendment to restore the agency's authority was accepted as part of the Interoperable Emergency Communications Act, S.385.
Pryor credited the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) with saving lives and protecting Americans from harmful products on the market and faulted the Bush Administration for allowing the Commission to lapse. His measure allows the CPSC to continue its routine business despite the current vacancy, such as voting on new product safety standards or levying civil penalties for violations of safety laws, for an additional six months.
"From batteries to lawn mowers to baby cribs, this agency has made sure everyday products we buy and use are safe. In fact, just before losing its ability to conduct business, the CPSC was studying lead content in small toys," Pryor said. "As a former Attorney General and as a parent, I know this agency's oversight is critical to our safety. It should not be hamstrung."
Pryor said all three members of the CPSC must be present to conduct most official business. However, the Commission may function with two members for a period of six months during a new vacancy, allowing the President time to nominate a new candidate and the Senate to confirm him or her. The Senator said the Commission's business has been stalled because President Bush has failed to nominate a candidate since Chairman Hal Stratton resigned in July 2006. Pryor's amendment allows the Commission to conduct official business for an additional six months.
"My measure ensures product safety is not put at risk because this Administration doesn't make it a priority. I'm pleased the Committee understands the agency's importance. As Chairman of the Consumer Affairs Subcommittee, I will work to see swift movement on this matter," Pryor said.
As Arkansas' Attorney General, Pryor spearheaded an effort to pass the Child Product Safety Act in 2001. Under this law, he developed a website to provide parents with an easy resource to identify unsafe children's products. He also required day-care centers to check their toys and other equipment against the list. The Department of Human Services could revoke or refuse to renew licenses based on the information from an inspection.