As previously discussed here, the U.S. House of Representatives Energy & Commerce Committee will hold a hearing entitled “Industry Perspectives on the Consumer Product Safety Commission” on Wednesday, March 10, 2016.  It is clear from a Background Memo published yesterday that the Committee intends to delve into some of the highest profile issues in the CPSC regulated community from recent years.  The Committee also announced the witnesses testifying at the hearing as well as the topics that may be explored.

The Memo notes that “a significant number of rulemakings” remain from 2015 with “no clear timeline for resolution.”  The Memo  specifically cites to the proposed rules on voluntary recalls and information disclosure under Section 6(b) of the CPSA, among others, as creating a “substantial amount of uncertainty for the regulated industry.” The Committee further notes that it would like to receive an update regarding the negotiation process between CPSC, voluntary standards organizations and the recreational off-highway vehicle (“ROV”) industry regarding updates to the voluntary standard for ROV’s.

The announced witnesses include:

  1. Jonathan Gold, Vice President, Supply Chain and Customs Policy, National Retail Federation
  2. Mark Fellin, Director of Regulatory and Legislative Affairs, Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association
  3. Erik Pritchard, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association; and
  4.  Rachel Weintraub, Legislative Director and General Counsel, Consumer Federation of America.

The Committee also set forth the following issues that “may be examined” in the course of the Hearing:

  1. Understanding how the voluntary standards process, the preferred regulatory approach in the CPSC’s authorizing statute, impacts industry’s ability to adjust and improve standards and compliance activities.
  2. Whether the CPSC is putting its resources to best use to meet Congressional obligations and public safety goals.
  3. The relationship between the CPSC and the regulated communities and how a cooperative import and recall process can improve safety for American consumers.
  4.  The importance of the voluntary safety standards process to the CPSC’s mission and how that process has played out in the development of the proposed mandatory safety standard for ROVs.
  5. What issues are important for Congress to consider when evaluating the forthcoming CPSC budget request for FY 2017.