Sunday, September 6, 2009

Waxman Hearing on CPSIA - Your Letters Needed by 9-8-09

An email I received today:

Dear Friend,

I am writing you with an URGENT request. The House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection has scheduled a hearing on Thursday, September 10 at 10:00 AM. The hearing is entitled “Consumer Product Safety Commission Oversight: Current Issues and a Vision for the Future.” The Subcommittee inexplicably is planning to call exactly ONE witness, CPSC Chairman Tenenbaum, to discuss the CPSIA.

I disagree with the Subcommittee on this decision. The business community (particularly Small Business) raised many legitimate and serious objections to this law and its implementation. To exclude the business community from this hearing is to distort the truth and to keep inconvenient views off the record. It's wrong.

There is something we can all do. We must URGENTLY write the Committee and Subcommittee to express our strong objections over calling only one witness. Remember, this is the first hearing sponsored by this committee since the bill passed 13 months ago. [Doesn't that make your blood BOIL?!] The hearings are set for next Thursday (seven days away, including a holiday), so this is a "today" project. Please HELP. Thanks.

Here's how to do it:

a. Prepare your letter, ideally on your business letterhead, and send it to me at HOUSECPSIAHEARING@COX.NET. We will deliver the letters to the appropriate parties by hand.

b. Format:


The Honorable Henry Waxman

The Honorable Bobby Rush
Subcommittee Chairman

House Energy and Commerce Committee
2125 Rayburn House Office BuildingWashington, DC 20515

The Honorable Joe Barton
Ranking Member

The Honorable George Radanovich
Subcommittee Ranking Member

House Energy and Commerce Committee
2322A Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairmen and Ranking Members:

[Letter body]


[Your Name]
[Your Title]
[Email address or Cell phone]

The body of my letter is shown below. You are welcome to use my letter for inspiration, but it's probably best if you write your own letter.

Thanks for your help!

Rick Woldenberg
Learning Resources, Inc.
Vernon Hills, Illinois
Tel 847-573-8420
Follow my blog at: or via


My letter:

"Dear Chairmen and Ranking Members:

I am writing in regard to the Committee hearing set for September 10, 2009 in which the Hon. Inez Tenenbaum, Chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), is scheduled to testify on the implementation of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).

I am very disappointed that no small businesses impacted by the new law have been invited to share their experiences in testimony before the Committee. The business community has been actively calling for hearings since the passage of the CPSIA because of the draconian effects of the new law. Our family business makes educational products for schools and has an exemplary 25-year safety record because of our hard work to assure high quality and compliance with law. Yet the innumerable, onerous provisions of the CPSIA have had a devastating impact on our ability to conduct business. These issues need to be explored by the Committee based on the testimony of real companies suffering real pain.

The problems caused by the law are myriad. The overly broad definition of “children’s products” swept in many products incapable of harming children from lead or phthalates. The CPSC itself has been hobbled by the CPSIA’s strict new rules that prohibit risk assessment. The agency has no flexibility to exercise judgment and as a result, have issued impractical guidance and unworkable regulations. In addition, the exemption process under the law is both very limited and very expensive.

The severe penalties under the law are not scaring companies into compliance – they are shooing companies out of the market. Even the CPSC’s own guidance to resale shops advises stores to consider the option to stop doing business in children’s products.

The deck is stacked against small business under the new law. Ironically, while crafters are left to puzzle over how to “ascertain” co-hort information on their products, the new law awards a freebie to large businesses who seek to test their own products.

I strongly believe that the perspective of businesses like our company is essential to a complete picture of the problems caused by the CPSIA and its implementation. Thank you for your consideration of this important matter.


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