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Bush to nominate Baroody as CPSC head

Consumer Reports News: March 01, 2007 10:19 PM

The White House has made months of rumors official. On Thursday afternoon, President Bush announced his intention to nominate Michael E. Baroody (pictured, right) to be chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Baroody currently serves as the executive vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers; he has also been NAM's senior vice president for policy, communications, and public affairs.

When it comes to safety regulation, NAM has traditionally pushed for a hands-off approach, urging the Commission to rely on educational campaigns and voluntary standards set by industry.  So it will be interesting to hear Baroody's thoughts on the CPSC — and equally interesting to hear what the Democrat-controlled Senate thinks about the nomination.

The CPSC has been without a chairman since Hal Stratton left the Commission last July; and with only two commissioners, the agency has been left without a quorum, limiting its ability to issue new rules or take new action on large civil penalties against firms that have failed to report defective or hazardous products. We think it is very important the CPSC regain its full authority.  However, it is even more important that — as an agency charged with overseeing safety of over 15,000 products, and ensuring that they do not pose unreasonable safety risks — the CPSC must be lead by someone who will champion the interests of consumers. Consumers Union will be urging Congress to carefully scrutinize Baroody's views, perspectives, and biases.  If those views reflect the manufacturers' points of view, we have significant concerns with him running a consumer protection and consumer safety agency.  In the coming next weeks we will be more carefully evaluating his background and urge Congress to do the same.

Marc Perton

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