Monday September 26, 2016
CPSC Draft FY2017 Operating Plan Assumes $130.5M Funding
CPSC staff September 22 briefed the commission on a draft FY2017 operating plan based on the requested $130.5 million budget. Whether that amount will be available is in question as Congress has not yet approved money for the year, which begins October 1.
Until final funding occurs, CSPC presumably would operate under a continuing resolution, most likely at its current $125 million, and spending based on the increase (PSL, 2/15/16) would be delayed. Moreover, it even is possible that CPSC's resources could fall as there have been moves in Congress to cut the agency's funding, including $121.3 million (PSL, 7/11/16).
In any event, under the plan, staffers would rise from 567 to 582 FTEs with all 15 new people going to import surveillance work. The projected $5.5 million funding increase ($125 million to $130.5 million) would rise to $6.5 million in available additional money due to a $1 million decrease in spending related to testing burdens. The freed money would go into three areas: $3 million for imports, $3 million for researching chronic hazards to children, and $500,000 for data work.
Explanations for the four changes included:
The plan, which also includes many performance goals, is at bit.ly/2cKDAjO. The nearly three hour briefing followed what is typical of such sessions, with commissioners often focusing on issues well known as important to them. Getting a large share of attention was education work on furniture tipovers. Members of both parties worried about funding/activity gaps.
Watchers also heard that the agency has received its first request to head a voluntary standards panel. If allowed, staffers would lead work on electronic sensors in protective headgear.
The reason staff is presenting the document before funding is known follows concern voiced earlier this year (PSL, 2/15/16) by Commissioner Marietta Robinson that the commission has been effectively delegating its statutory authority to staff in the way operating plans have been handled in recent years. While the CPSA calls for the panel to vote on an agenda 30 days prior to the start of the fiscal year, such action has not occurred well into the year after much of the work has been done. That timeline has stemmed from funding delays due to budget fights. At the briefing, she praised the timing this year