Senate Democrats

Democratic Senators Join Top Prosecutors From Around Nation To Protect Vital Enforcement Provision Of Consumer Protection Bill

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer, Mark Pryor, Bill Nelson, Ken Salazar and Amy Klobuchar joined Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel and other top prosecutors from states across the country today to discuss the need to protect a vital enforcement provision in the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Reform Act.

The measure, a key component of legislation being considered by the Senate this week, would empower state AGs to assist the federal government in enforcing tough new safety standards for consumer products.  The lawmakers will describe their plan to fend off a Republican effort, slated to come up for a vote Wednesday, to strip the measure from the larger bill.  The Democratic senators will point out the gaping hole that move would leave in the enforcement of new standards and regulations.

Last year alone, over 20 million toys were recalled because of the hazard they posed to children.  Unfortunately, the CPSC, which during the Bush administration only hired one full-time toy tester, opposes the Senate’s efforts to increase its capacity, claiming they would be unnecessary and too difficult to implement.

“This bill will let parents know that even if media attention from the latest toy recall fades, we have trusted officials watching the manufacturers and retailers and making sure our children are kept safe from harmful products,” Schumer said.  “It isn’t enough to pass a bill with tougher safety standards or stiffer penalties. It needs to come with enough teeth to enforce those things, and this legislation does.”

Said Pryor: “I’m proud to be here with Attorneys General from across the nation.  As a former Attorney General, I know AGs can be an effective partner to protect consumers from harm. My legislation provides AGs with critical tools to assist the CPSC in removing dangerous products off the shelves.”

“We can have all the safety standards in the world, but at the end of the day if those standards aren’t being enforced they don’t help a whole lot,” Nelson said.  “We must empower our partners in the states to help enforce these new tough measures and keep consumers safe from hazardous products.”

Said Salazar: “As the former Attorney General for the state of Colorado, I understand the importance of being able to protect the citizens and consumers of our Nation.  The narrowly-tailored watchdog authority granted in this bill would have given me a useful tool to help protect Colorado’s consumers from unsafe and hazardous products. I am glad we are working to include it now so that other states’ attorneys general are able to more fully protect consumers from potentially unsafe products.”

“It’s simply unacceptable that we continue to see millions of toys recalled due to high lead content and safety flaws – we must act now to get these toxic toys off our store shelves,” Klobuchar said.  “The Attorneys General provision puts some muscle behind this strong safety legislation.”

Said McDaniel: “The resources and expertise of state attorneys general will strengthen the CPSC’s ability to protect consumers. If it were your kid receiving a new toy, you’d want your state AG to have the ability to protect them.”