Robert Adler has been confirmed by U.S. Senate for a second term as a commissioner of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The Senate gave its stamp of approval to the Obama nominee on Dec. 2. Fifty-three senators voted for Adler’s renomination while 44 senators voted against him. Some industry insiders said the former consumer advocate was pushing hard to alter a Consumer Product Safety Act statute that governs the disclosure of product information. The detractors said the change is substantial but Adler and Commissioner Marietta Robinson have fought back against the accusation.
Adler’s nomination was approved by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation this summer along with a couple of other CPSC nominees who were earlier interrogated by the committee on the agency’s priorities. Those nominees, Democrat-backed Elliot Kaye and Republican-backed Joseph Mohorovic, were given the go-ahead by the Senate in July, but not before the Senate committee, led by Sens. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. called the now-acting chairman and commissioner in for questioning.
Concerns were expressed during that hearing that the agency would fall into partisan squabbling and wasn’t doing enough to prioritize a number of issues ranging from off-highway vehicles (OHVs) to third-party testing standards. The hearing drew out a promise by then-CPSC executive director Kaye to focus on creating new safety standards for OHVs, saying that the agency’s staff was working on it and was hoping to propose a solution by the end of the fiscal year. “Some rules will take longer,” he noted.
President Obama renominated Adler for a second term in June, setting up an unusually long tenure for a commissioner that the industry has increasingly viewed as a foe amid a number of Plaintiff-friendly initiatives he has endorsed. Adler, who began serving as commissioner in August 2009, has been a staunch defender of the agency’s more aggressive policies toward regulating product makers, including a controversial proposal to relax restrictions on its ability to publish product information without first notifying manufacturers. His current term was set to expire in October this year.
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