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Monday June 18, 2018

Feldman's Second CPSC Nomination Could Set up GOP Majority Past 2024

CPSC nominee Peter Feldman will get his hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee June 20. Meanwhile, the White House submitted a second nomination for him as commissioner, this one for a seven-year stint ending in 2026.


That occurred a few days after he got the nod (PSL, 6/11/18) to finish former Commissioner Joseph Mohorovic's term, which runs through October 2019. The second nomination came after the deadline of the previous edition of PSL, which thus reported on only Feldman's first nomination.


His approval for both – along with that of the pending re-nomination of Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle until 2025 – would ensure a Republican majority at CPSC until at least 2024. That is the year recently approved Commissioner Dana Baiocco's term officially ends.


However, under the CPSA provision allowing commissioners to stay up to an extra year to avoid vacancies, she potentially could stay until late October 2025.


The commission now has four nominations pending before the Senate: two each for Feldman and Buerkle's. Her second is to become Chairman officially. Assuming the Senate approves those nominations, the ends of commissioners' terms (extended years) would be:

  • Elliot Kaye (D) 2020 (2021).
  • Robert Adler (D) 2021 (2022).
  • Dana Baiocco (R) 2024 (2025).
  • Ann Marie Buerkle (R) 2025 (2026).
  • Peter Feldman (R) 2026 (2027).

Kaye and Adler's eventual replacements could not be Republicans and almost certainly would be Democrats given the CPSA mandate than no more than three members be of one party.


A wrinkle could be the White House changing parties in the 2020 election. However, Buerkle would need to voluntarily leave the commission. Some chairmen have done that in the past. Most recently, Kaye decided to finish his term as commissioner even after stepping down as chairman.


Mohorovic left in October (PSL, 10/23/17), citing desire to spend more time with his Chicago-based family. At his final public appearance, he warned Democrats of the likely Republican majority well into the next decade. He noted the possibility of reciprocal "tyranny of the majority" activity, referring to a then-recent vote on a flame retardants petition that he had deemed insufficiently bipartisan (PSL, 9/25/17).


Whether that might occur now is unclear. Two early votes by Baiocco – on final Section 104 rules for high chairs and activity centers – passed 4-0, but they were uncontroversial.


Baiocco replaced former commissioner Marietta Robinson, a Democrat. Robinson's term ended in October 2017, but she left just before Baiocco's arrival under the extra year provision. Until then, Democrats had a 3-1 majority.