Democrats in Congress continue to push reforms in the Consumer Product Safety Commission, over objections from Republicans and particularly the Bush Administration. Belatedly concerned over the tsunami of unsafe products washing ashore and recalls, in particular, of dangerous toys, Congress is attempting to restore the CPSC's budget to its pre-war level and enhance its enforcement powers. Despite its incompetence, indeed irrelevance (the CPSC has ONE toy inspector, currently), over the past few years, the Administration is fighting the reform of the CPSC and its acting director has maintained that no the reforms are unnecessary.
The pending legislation in the House would enhance the CPSC budget, adopt standards on lead, renovate test labs, require third-party testing and generally focus on children's safety. The Senate's proposed reforms would add safety inspectors and assign additional safety agents at ports of entry to the U.S. Both versions would increase penalities for violators and give the agency more authority to recall products. In response, Republicans have suggested an "action plan" that relies upon volunatary reforms within the industry: even industry executives deride that suggestion. We think it was proposed by people who have been eating too many lead-based paint chips on one side of the Capital aisle.