Rockefeller Says Budget Should Not Defund Consumer Safety Priorities

March 2, 2011

Chairman RockefellerWASHINGTON, D.C.—Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV today called a proposal to cut funding for a product safety database not only a “bad idea” but a “bum deal for American consumers.”

“In these tough economic times, it’s important that we cut costs and provide the greatest value for the taxpayers’ dollar,” Chairman Rockefeller said. “But I cannot support efforts to defund a consumer safety priority. The CPSC’s product safety database would serve as an early warning system for unsafe products and has the potential to save lives.”

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) database will let Americans share and compare safety complaints about thousands of products ranging from cribs and high chairs to lawnmowers and tractors. The database was a cornerstone of the landmark consumer product safety law that cleared the Commerce Committee and was overwhelmingly approved by Congress in 2008. It is based on existing consumer protection databases, like the one at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which provides access to consumer complaints about vehicles, car seats and other auto-related products.

“This database will provide important safety information to American consumers,” Chairman Rockefeller added. “A mother will be able to check the CPSC database to see if there are complaints about a crib model. A young couple will be able to see if a certain microwave has a history of safety complaints or if there are complaints about a coffee maker shorting and causing fires. I will fight this ill-informed proposal to undermine such an important consumer protection tool. It’s a bad idea and a bum deal for American consumers.”

The CPSC consumer product database is currently operational on an experimental basis and is slated to become available to the public on March 11. Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) succeeded in passing an amendment to an appropriations bill that would prohibit the use of funds for the database and effectively kill its public launch. The appropriations bill is now before the Senate.