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CPSIA – House Hearings Testimony of Richard Woldenberg 2-17-11

I have created some clips from the hearing on CPSIA and CPSC Resources held before the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade on February 17, 2011 in Washington, D.C. I have not prepared every single clip from the hearing. If you want to see the entire thing, click here and enjoy! Otherwise, I am going to post numerous clips and you can pick and choose as you see fit.

My testimony at the House hearing:

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CPSIA – House Hearings Testimony of Richard Woldenberg 2-17-11

CPSIA – Upcoming Hearings

I will be appearing as a witness at two hearings next week. On Wednesday, I will appear as a panelist at the CPSC’s hearing on the feasibility of 100 ppm lead standard. I am appearing at the request of the CPSC. On Thursday, I will be a witness in front of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce in a hearing entitled “A Review of CPSIA and CPSC Resources”. This hearing will take place at 10 AM at 2322 Rayburn House Office Building.

More to follow.

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CPSIA – Upcoming Hearings

CPSIA – Report Abusive Database Rule to Eric Cantor!

Today, Republican CPSC Commissioners Nancy Nord and Anne Northup, noting the stifled debate orchestrated by Democratic CPSC Commissioners on the final public database rule (up for a vote on November 17th) and the toxic impact of that rule on the business community, have proposed their own alternative rule on the database.

I will provide a link HERE as soon as it is available. I believe the CPSC is currently mud wrestling over whether the Nord/Northup alternative proposal can be shown to you . . . the public. I think the Dems don’t think you are mature enough to be able to read it. Perhaps when you’re older . . . .

Here is Nancy Nord’s blogpost and Anne Northup’s blogpost relating to their proposed new rule. I also want to commend Ms. Northup’s three other blogposts on this topic, beginning on October 27. It is gratifying to see Commissioners taking political risk to do the right thing. Both Ms. Nord and Ms. Northup are taking a stand here. Let’s hope that fighting breaks out on other issues, too. We need the help.

This proposal by two Republican Commissioners is yet more shocking evidence that at today’s CPSC, safety and market integrity is an entirely partisan issue. Frankly, I don’t understand this and find it all so outrageous. In my view, this cartoonish standoff is ENTIRELY the fault of the Democrats who are stone deaf to the legitimate concerns of the business community. The hollow words of Inez Tenenbaum committing to “dialogue” with stakeholders makes me want to scream.

Consider, for instance, that I testified at the hearing on the database on November 10, 2009 at the personal request of Matt Howsare, Tenenbaum’s then counsel (now her Chief of Staff). Ms. Tenenbaum purportedly wanted my feedback on this critical proposal, and as it was related to me, the agency needed more comments from the business community. Naively, I spent our company’s money to fly to Washington to accommodate this seemingly reasonable request. I am accepting Fool of the Year nominations at this time. . . .

This hearing took place almost exactly ONE YEAR AGO – plenty of time for Ms. Tenenbaum to absorb my testimony. Listen to my testimony – did the majority take ANY of my points seriously? According to Nancy Nord, she was not allowed to ask at the October 20th Commission meeting about CPSC Staff’s conclusion that the rule would have an insignificant impact on small business – the ENTIRE focus of my testimony in November 2009. Don’t kid yourself, staff conclusions like this are are driven from ABOVE – from Ms. Tenenbaum and her political patrons. Ms. Nord was gaveled silent by the majority party – they had heard enough, I guess. Other issues impacting business interests from a fairness standpoint were also ignored or blunted.

This kind of treatment is completely outrageous. This example of government-out-of-control explains why the public spoke so profoundly last Tuesday. Nevertheless, the people running the shop at the CPSC didn’t hear you on Election Day. We MUST stop the Dem’s plan – unless you want to be eaten alive by trial lawyers. Listen to my testimony – it’s a road map to litigation doom.

Eric Cantor has called for substantially increasing Congressional oversight of the activities of federal agencies which he says are “now actively working to enact [President Obama's] agenda through agency regulations”. Could Tenenbaum, Adler and Co. be doing JUST THAT at the CPSC right now? Hmmm.

Please WRITE ERIC CANTOR to tell him what you think. His fax number is 202-225-0011. Please post your letter as a comment to this blog.

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CPSIA – Report Abusive Database Rule to Eric Cantor!

CPSIA – Imagine the Fun, the Commission to Discuss the "15 Month Rule" Tomorrow

The CPSC Commission will be discussing the following matters tomorrow at 9 AM EST:

  1. Testing and Labeling to Product Certification – Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPR) and Testing Component Parts – Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPR)
  2. CPSA 15(j) Rule for Drawstrings – Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPR)
  3. CPSA 15(j) Rule for Hairdryers – Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPR)
  4. Infant Bath Seats – Final Rule – and Laboratory Accreditation

Please NOTE that the Testing and Labeling rules (the “15 Month Rule” announced on April 1) has been converted into a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to expedite its completion. Other than their desire to move on to something more interesting to do, why do you suppose the Commission is so hot-to-trot to get this rulemaking behind them?

Could it be that they REALLY want to lift the testing stay on February 10, 2011, as PROMISED? Hmmm.

You can view the hearing tomorrow at this link.

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CPSIA – Imagine the Fun, the Commission to Discuss the "15 Month Rule" Tomorrow

CPSIA – FULL VIDEO of House CPSIA Hearing 4-29-10

Here is the hearing video in full. I have posted it in two parts, (a) Opening statements by members of the Committee, and (b) Witness Testimony and Q&A.

Enjoy!

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CPSIA – FULL VIDEO of House CPSIA Hearing 4-29-10

CPSIA – Hearing Webcast Link POSTED

The House Committee hearing website has posted THIS LINK for today’s webcast. As noted, the hearing is scheduled to start at 10 AM EST.

Tune in and enjoy our day in court!

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CPSIA – Hearing Webcast Link POSTED

CPSIA – Dingell Links

Barb from OH asked for links to pertinent past blogposts relating to John Dingell. Here are a few:

There were quite a few public replies to Mr. Dingell in March. I published my replies on March 9 and March 13.

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CPSIA – Dingell Links

CPSIA – Workshop on the Public Database Jan. 11/12

The CPSC has scheduled another two day workshop in January, this time for the dreaded and much-feared public database. This workshop comes on the heels of a lightly-attended hearing on the same subject held November 10 at CPSC headquarters. [You can watch the hearing at this link.] I testified at this hearing, one of two companies to participate (there were also a few trade associations presenters and the usual assortment of highly-motivated consumer “advocates”). There has been no response by the agency to this information-gathering exercise other than to schedule the workshop.

No never mind, they really want to hear from us. According to a blanket email I received from Scott Wolfson, “Education and advocacy are at the center of our priorities, which means strengthening partnerships with community leaders like you . . . . We hope for significant participation and we greatly value your input.” Wow, I am touched.

Of course, it is nice that the agency is attempting to show an interest in dialogue and exchange of views with stakeholders. I certainly appreciate being afforded the opportunity to speak at these events. However, I find this particular workshop opportunity somewhat grating. Here are a few reasons why I am so easily annoyed:

a. I testified at the November 10th hearing at the request of the Commission. I was not planning to attend the hearing, as I have made many trips to Washington in the last year – all at company expense and at the sacrifice of my “regular” job. The CPSC staff made it clear that they not only wanted me to attend, but that I should present. This may have been particularly important because as of the beginning of the week of the hearing, there were only two people committed to speaking (including me). Okay, so I go to Washington, study up on the issue, write a little speech, and try to keep it short. They have a strict time limit, you see. This wasn’t always a problem. At my first hearing (lead panel, Nov. 5, 2008), my speech was impromptu and they let me speak for 23 minutes (other speeches were longer). That flexibility is a mere memory now, as I learned at the tracking labels hearing (May 12) when I was cut off at the ten minute mark. And, drat, at the public database hearing, I again ran a bit over. Even with hardly anyone in the room, the time limit police stopped me at ten minutes, mid-sentence.

So I find it irritating that they asked to fly in to tell them my thoughts in November, but limited me to ten minutes, and now they want me to pony up for more flight and travel expenses, so they can . . . what, cut me off again?

b. I would take this process a bit more seriously if they gave ANY sign of listening at the last workshop. Why so cynical, Rick? Well, wasn’t it this Commission who moved to act on the testing stay only three business days after we attended the LAST workshop (December 10/11, on the so-called “15 Month Rule”)? There was no time to process the testimony at the 15 Month Rule workshop before the stay decision was made (those three days were devoted to complete chaos, courtesy of Henry Waxman and his unilateral amendment of the CPSIA). The fact that the agency spent two days intensively gathering information from 250 stakeholders on the impact of the 15 Month Rule and then the Commission almost immediately disregarded it in one of their most important decisions of the year made me feel the workshop was a SHAM. And if that one was a sham, this one promises to be an even greater sham. Since the last hearing has apparently generated no work product or further dialogue and since it was so lightly attended, the January workshop appears to be entirely for show.

I can talk to myself at home for free.

c. Finally, does the CPSC think drafting implementing rules for the CPSIA is some sort of hobby for the business community – or is it a plot to make the conduct of regulated business impossible? Do they really think any ordinary business can sacrifice its leadership to monthly trips to Washington to blather on to regulators who are only slightly interested in what they have to say? [Let's not forget about the CPSC's pet organization, ICPHSO, which bookended meetings in late October 2009 and mid-February 2010. ICPHSO meetings are essentially unofficial CPSC workshops/hearings.] Who can afford this financially, as a matter of priorities or allocation of scarce corporate resources? It seems obvious to me that the more frequently the CPSC holds these meetings, the fewer participants they will garner. The scheduling of meetings and hearings every month by the CSPC seems naive and sinister at the same time.

I won’t be there.

All Roads Lead to Rome, as the old saying goes. Why the nuttiness here? I have the usual explanation:

  • an irrational, over-reaching law is impossible to implement sensibly;
  • the regulatory agency is left with no discretion under the new law and has no power alter the ridiculous, irresponsible or impossible language of the statute;
  • Congress won’t listen and would prefer that the CPSC make the problem go away, perhaps even at the expense of breaking the law Congress passed;
  • The agency gamely tries its best to carry on, with increasing chaos and market damage inflicted; and
  • Businesses (particularly small businesses) are the big losers, with the agency itself a close second.

So we have another two-day session to help the CPSIA create an over-arching database that will likely harm American businesses, create liability storms, eliminate jobs (except at plaintiff law firms and at consumer groups) and generally fail at whatever starry-eyed objective underlay its conception. A good time for all, no doubt.

Let me know how it goes.

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CPSIA – Workshop on the Public Database Jan. 11/12

CPSIA – How to Listen to Today’s Hearing

The video for the hearing has not yet been posted online to my knowledge. You can listen to an audio feed at this link . The hearing starts at about 36:30 and runs until 2:08:30. There is a recess (with background chatter) until 2:56:25 and concludes at 3:19:02.

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CPSIA – How to Listen to Today’s Hearing