Lobbyists who oppose expanding the budget and role of the Consumer Product Safety Commission have an interesting ally: the acting head of the agency.
Acting chairman Nancy A. Nord is opposing parts of a Senate bill that would increase the agency's funding, raise the cap on civil penalties and assign the agency a more aggressive role in investigating violations, The Washington Post reports here. The bill comes after a summer of recalls in the toy industry, when children's playthings manufactured by Mattel were found to contain unsafe levels of lead. In response to Nord's opposition, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called on her to step down.
The bill was passed by a committee, but many business groups are lobbying against it. They say it will fuel expensive, unnecessary lawsuits. For instance, The National Association of Manufacturers' Consumer Product Safety Commission Coalition issued a press release citing "grave concerns" about the legislation, and said the increased penalties "will promote litigation rather than cooperation, and in turn will lead to much more delay in taking action to address unsafe products and protect the public."