On January 16, 2019, the White House re-nominated Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Acting-Chair Ann Marie Buerkle to be Chairman, and for another seven-year term as Commissioner. Acting Chair Buerkle was first nominated in July of 2017, and re-nominated in January of last year, but the Senate did not act on these nominations.
The business community has been very supportive of Ms. Buerkle’s nomination. As Acting Chair, Buerkle has worked hard to secure funding for the agency and has shown a relatively light hand in making policy and personnel changes. She has also repeatedly stated her interest in working collaboratively with all stakeholders to advance consumer product safety. Acting Chair Buerkle has voiced a strong preference for voluntary over mandatory standards, which the business community sees as a more flexible and adaptable approach. Under her leadership, the CPSC has also shown willingness to take a more creative approach to dealing with potential hazards, as shown in the recent settlement of litigation lodged against a jogging stroller manufacturer, Britax, which resulted in a plan for a robust educational campaign, coupled with consumer incentives, without forcing the company to label the corrective action as a “recall.”
Acting Chair Buerkle is now in her holdover year as a Commissioner, and the Senate will have to act on the nomination before October if she is to remain on the Commission. Doing so will help avoid regulatory uncertainty for all stakeholders, including CPSC’s staff and management.