The CPSIA and the implementing regulations the CPSC is issuing have imposed unprecedented requirements on those manufacturing and selling consumer products. Some of those requirements help insure the safety of the products used by American families. Others impose regulatory requirements with little or no gain in terms of safety.
To address the confusion and concern in the regulated community over the hard-to-understand requirements we are churning out, the agency is creating a new office of Education, Global Outreach and Small Business Ombudsman. I supported this proposal. While the new office will work to educate industry and small business on the requirements they face, I fully anticipate that these stakeholders will also educate the CPSC on issues of concern to them via their interactions with this office. Therefore, perhaps the most important role the new office can play is to act as an internal voice for those potentially impacted by our activities. My vote to establish this office is conditioned on an understanding that this office will act as an ombudsman inside the agency to help temper proposed actions that impose requirements without the requisite demonstration of a safety purpose.
I recognize that creating a new office is no substitute for solving the real problems posed by the CPSIA. I also recognize that there is a risk that such an office could merely try to put a rosy spin on troublesome policy decisions. My responsibility as a Commissioner is to make sure this office communicates facts.
All of us are aware that the requirements of the CPSIA have driven some companies out of business and have driven a number of perfectly safe products off store shelves. The American public is paying the price in terms of lost jobs, higher prices, and less choice in the marketplace. I view this office as a nod to the fact that we need to do a better job balancing the good we are trying to do with the harm actually being done.