After a long period during which the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued rule after rule on three-to-two, party-line votes with much acrimony and little compromise, we faced a new reality this past fall when a vacancy left the Commission equally divided. At the time I wrote about this brave new era: “[A]ny action will [now] require bi-partisan support. . . . If we can build [a] bridge and restore an atmosphere of collegiality and trust, I’m confident we can find enough common ground to allow the CPSC to effectively carry out its mission.”
I’m pleased that on one significant issue voted on last week–the fiscal year 2012 operating plan– collaboration occurred and, as a result, consensus was reached. (I would note that the fiscal year began October 1, 2011 so this operating plan is six months delayed. I hope we can agree on the next one at the beginning of the fiscal year.) After much discussion among Commissioners and their staffs, the end result was a plan that we all agreed on. I hope that this new willingness of both sides to look for common ground and work together continues.