Rep. Mary Bono Mack Scores Victory for Regulatory Relief: Legislation to Protect Jobs Now Heading to President

August 2, 2011

In Case You Missed It

Rep. Mary Bono Mack's bill on consumer product safety passes Congress

Written by Paul C. Barton, Desert Sun Washington Bureau

Rep. Mary Bono Mack won overwhelming House and Senate approval Monday for legislation to revise consumer product safety regulations that manufacturers said were strangling their businesses.

It was the first bill Bono Mack, R-Palm Springs, has gotten through the House since becoming chairman in January of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The vote in the House was 421-2. It passed the Senate by unanimous consent and now moves to President Obama for his signature.

In 2008, Congress boosted the powers of the Consumer Product Safety Commission after the nation experienced a flood of toys imported from China that contained high levels of lead.

Among the 2008 reforms were requirements for stringent third-party testing of toys and children's products. There was particular concern about lead in objects that small children were prone to put in their mouths.

In hearings this spring, though, Bono Mack heard from small businesses involved in toy manufacturing that the testing requirements were so onerous they threatened to put them out of business.

In addition, manufacturers and retailers of products for older children, such as bicycles and all-terrain vehicles, said they were faced with pulling thousands of products from stores, even though the users were unlikely to put the few components containing lead in their mouths.

The bill gives more flexibility to the Consumer Product Safety Commission in determining how individual products should be tested and regulated.

Bono Mack's office worked over the weekend to shape revisions to the 2008 law in a way the measure could win support from Democrats.

The ranking Democrat on her subcommittee, Rep. G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina, as well as Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, were among those who endorsed her bill on the House floor Monday.

"As a nation, we simply cannot afford to lose jobs or stifle innovation because of questionable regulations," Bono Mack said in a statement.

"But we also have an obligation to make certain that our children's toys remain safe. This bill is a win for everyone. It's good for American consumers and American businesses and will save American jobs."