The upcoming election offers opportunities for leadership changes at the CPSC. The agency currently has four commissioners and one vacancy:
President Trump nominated Dr. Nancy Beck (a Republican) to fill the vacancy and become the agency’s Permanent Chair in March. But the nomination stalled after the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation held a hearing to consider the nomination in June. Soon thereafter, Senate Democrats and two Republican Senators expressed opposition to Dr. Beck’s confirmation. The COVID-19 pandemic has also complicated the Senate’s efforts at evaluating and confirming President Trump’s nominees for agency vacancies.
With less than a month until Election Day, the odds are increasingly slim that Dr. Beck will be confirmed before then. Moreover, Commissioner Kaye’s seven-year term expires this month, although by statute he can hold over for up to one year if no replacement is confirmed. How will the November election alter the CPSC’s leadership going forward? If Democrats win the Presidency and/or control of the Senate, will President Trump and Senate Republicans quickly fill the CPSC’s vacancies in a lame-duck Senate session in December? Or will the Democrats start January with the opportunity to fill two vacancies at the agency and secure a lasting Democrat majority? Conversely, if Republicans win the Presidency and/or control of the Senate, what will happen with Dr. Beck’s nomination? Will she be confirmed, will her nomination expire in December, or will Trump withdraw the nomination and find someone else who does not draw opposition from Republican Senators? Next month’s election holds obvious consequences for the future of the CPSC’s leadership. Further, while a commissioner’s political affiliation is not always an indicator of how they will vote on consumer product issues, we have seen the commissioners’ votes largely fall along political party lines when considering whether to impose civil penalties for violations of consumer product laws.
Total Recalls: 25
Hazards: Fall (6); Injury (5); Fire/Burn/Shock (5); Laceration (3); Violation of Federal Standard (3); Crash (2); Impact (1)