Pro-Corporation Bush Holdover Rankles Consumer Product Safety Commission
Sunday, April 01, 2012
A holdover from the George W. Bush administration, Nancy Nord has been a constant thorn in the sides of Democrats on the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) and consumer advocates. She has been criticized for repeatedly fighting against increasing the budget of the CPSC and other reforms advocated by those on the left.
In the fall of 2007, Congress was prepared to expand the powers and size of the commission following a rash of high-profile failures by the CPSC to protect the public from dangerous toys and other products. But Nord, then acting head of the commission, rejected plans by lawmakers to more than double the CPSC’s budget and expand its staff to help it better perform its job.
Nord also opposed provisions that would increase the maximum penalties for safety violations and make it easier for the government to make public reports of faulty products, protect industry whistle-blowers and prosecute executives of companies that willfully violate laws. She also was critical of a provision to ban lead from all toys, saying it was not practical. She said that the proposal to raise the potential penalty to $100 million “may have the undesired consequence of firms, as a precautionary measure, flooding the agency with virtually every consumer complaint and incident.”
Following the election of Barack Obama to the White House, Nord again fought against Congress’ attempt to increase the CPSC’s budget.
In 2009, Democrats called for Nord to be kicked off the commission. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi publicly asked Nord to resign, saying the commissioner was “an employee of the Bush administration” and that toy and product safety was not a priority of hers.
Nord refused to heed Pelosi’s call. Pelosi then asked President Obama to demand that she leave. Obama remained neutral and Nord remained on the commission. A few months later in 2009, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Florida) also called on Obama to fire Nord. And again, Obama left her alone.
Nord seems intent on serving out her full term, which expires in October 2012.
To Learn More:
Who Is Nancy Nord? (by Thomas Francis, Broward-Palm Beach New Times)
Consumer Safety Chief Says She Won't Quit (CBS News)
Bigger Budget? No, Responds Safety Agency (by Stephen Labaton, New York Times)
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