Tuesday October 05, 2021
CPSC Republicans Flex Majority; GC Deems Their Vote 'Null and Void'
Republican commissioners' September 24 use of their temporary majority to alter CPSC's FY2022 Operating Plan led to an assertion from Acting Chairman Robert Adler that their move was a "clear and serious breach of our internal rules."
Then, after Commissioners Dana Baiocco and Peter Feldman issued a joint statement (bit.ly/3mfUZ6w) that they were "pleased" with a 2-1 approval of an amended plan, Adler disputed their claim of an approval in follow-up remarks (bit.ly/3usbHTX). He declared, "Unfortunately, stating something categorically and with enthusiasm simply doesn’t make it true." He pointed to the Record of Commission Action, which explained (bit.ly/3zXEcKe):
"On September 26, 2021, upon request for review by the Acting Chairman, the Acting General Counsel [GC] determined that the vote on the Fiscal Year 2022 Operating Plan…is null and void because the Decision Making Procedures were not followed."
Adler's complaint involved what he described in his initial statement (bit.ly/3F3gaBE) as the submission "[m]oments before the deadline…[of] a seven-page single-spaced list containing over 50 amendments with no advance notice to me or anyone on agency staff." His statement used terms like "Government by Ambush" and a "power grab." The latter referred to the departure of former commissioner Elliot Kaye (PSL, 9/10/21). On the ongoing Senate consideration of three CPSC nominees, he wrote:
"In light of this unprecedented and inappropriate attempt to change the way CPSC operates, I hope that members of the Senate will confirm the pending nominations of new Commissioners in order to ensure that the agency can continue its normal mode of operation."
In response to the nullification, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Commerce Committee ranking member, September 30 issued a rebuke (bit.ly/2YbLahS) that included:
"There is no way to interpret this action except as a brazen act of sabotage by an acting Chairman who found himself on the losing side of a vote. During my tenure as ranking member and formerly as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, which has oversight jurisdiction over the CPSC, I have never seen a vote by the Senate-confirmed commissioners of an independent agency nullified by an Acting General Counsel."
Some of the revisions by Baiocco and Feldman were to:
In their statement, the pair wrote, "[T]his plan advances a number of priorities to protect consumers and strengthen the agency." Including items both from their amendments and from the initial draft, they asserted benefits to: