January 22, 2009

So What Are Congress And The JPMA Saying About CPSIA?

We're just three weeks away from the CPSIA-induced small business apocalypse. Will Obama save us? Will Congress? Will the JPMA? The short answer to each of those questions is easy: nobody knows!

The longer answers:

  • On Tuesday, within hours of President Obama's [!] swearing-in, his Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel sent a memo to all executive branch agencies ordering a halt to all pending Bush era regulations so they can be subject to review. At Z Recs, Jeremiah wonders if this suspension affects the implementation of CPSIA. I'm not so sure, but I can't find the full text of Emanuel's memo. At least one report which quotes the memo specifically mentions "rulemaking". I contacted a CPSC spokesperson for clarification, so maybe we'll see. Or maybe not. I doubt federal employees will be making many statements on remotely controversial topics until some new Obama-appointed faces show up in the front office.

  • So what about Congress? The Senate already postponed one hearing about the CPSIA implementation brouhaha. But last week, the chairs of the Senate and House committees overseeing the CPSC sent the Commission a letter urging swift action, more communication to businesses, and rulings that declare children's clothing and books to be basically in compliance with the new regulations. [Read the full text at the House Energy and Commerce Committee site.]

    Then yesterday, as ZRecs points out, members of the Committee sent a letter to Chairman Henry Waxman urging him to schedule hearings, and to delay the implementation--in less than three weeks!--of rules so they can "fine tune" the law and thus "prevent the collapse of home-based businesses." [The full letter is republished as a PDF by the Handmade Toy Alliance.] What Jeremiah doesn't mention, is that the two congressmen behind the letter are both Republicans--ranking member Joe Barton [R- Fort Worth, TX] and George Radanovich [R-Mariposa County, CA] who link the "problems" with the CPSIA to the coming debate over a giant stimulus package. [Radanovich also has the letter on his site.] AND, the Committee also has to save the teevee from the impending digital transition apocalypse So maybe TV and the CPSIA will be early examples of bipartisan cooperation. Stay tuned.

  • And the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association? The lobbying organization whose members are by definition the targets of the CPSIA's "all children's products" standards? The JPMA has been pretty quiet on the CPSIA since the law's sweeping effects became widely understood the last couple of months. In one sense, the JPMA probably doesn't care if thousands of small children's products companies go out of business; etsy sellers aren't exactly JPMA material, after all. But the association has published a guide to the CPSIA that explains--oh, wait, it's for members only. I have no idea what it says. Perhaps someone can lend me their copy.

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