Wicker Raises Concerns Over CPSC Acting Chairman’s Nullification of FY2022 Operating Plan

September 30, 2021

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today sent a letter urging Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Acting Chairman Robert Adler to adopt the Commission’s Operating Plan for Fiscal Year 2022 as amended by majority vote. This follows Acting Chairman Adler’s recent instruction to the Acting General Counsel to nullify a 2-1 vote to approve the Operating Plan.

“There is no way to interpret this action except as a brazen act of sabotage by an acting Chairman who found himself on the losing side of a vote. During my tenure as ranking member and formerly as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, which has oversight jurisdiction over the CPSC, I have never seen a vote by the Senate-confirmed commissioners of an independent agency nullified by an Acting General Counsel,” Wicker wrote.

“This action would be gravely troubling no matter the subject of the vote, but I am especially disappointed that it will now impact the CPSC’s ability to implement needed improvements to its operations.”

The amended Operating Plan approved on September 24 includes directives to implement recommendations made by the CPSC Inspector General in response to the 2019 data breach that was the subject of an investigation by Commerce Committee staff last Congress. The plan would add 27 new port inspectors to make up for last year’s lapses in screening for potentially dangerous products coming through U.S. ports of entry. In addition, the plan requires CPSC to turn away from a misguided effort to increase its presence on the Chinese-owned social media platform, TikTok. 

In October 2019, the Commerce Committee released a report on the CPSC’s violation of section 6(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) and subsequent data breaches. This year Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., ranking member of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers, R-Wash., ranking member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce, joined Wicker in a letter to Acting Chairman Adler regarding port inspection shortfalls. 

Click here to read the full letter.

Click here for a joint statement from CPSC Commissioners Dana Baiocco and Peter Feldman on the passage of the Operating Plan.