By a vote of 50-45, the U.S. Senate today narrowly confirmed the nomination of Dana Baiocco to serve on the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
The move is seen as a win for corporate America and a loss for consumers.
Among those leading the charge against Baiocco’s nomination was Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee which oversees the CPSC. Nelson’s opposition to Baiocco’s nomination hinged on her refusal to require portable generators be equipped with devices that limit carbon monoxide emissions or automatically shut off the machines when they reach dangerous levels.
The commission, which regulates the safety of thousands of products, from children’s toys to portable generators, is viewed as one of the nation’s top consumer watchdog agencies.
In a floor speech moments before the vote, Nelson said carbon monoxide poisonings from generators were linked to as many as 12 deaths and numerous injuries in Florida following Hurricane Irma.
“Hurricane season begins on June 1st and every day the CPSC fails to act on portable generators equals more Floridians and other Gulf Coast residents at risk,” said Nelson. “Sadly, it seems with the administration’s recent appointments to the CPSC, the commission could soon become known as the ‘Commission to Protect Shareholders and Companies.’”
Baiocco, a lawyer at powerful corporate lobbying and litigation giant Jones Day, was nominated by President Trump to serve on the CPSC last September. Her nomination has in-part come under fire due to her refusal to disclose clients she’s represented or fully recuse herself from matters involving those companies. Previous news reports indicate she has defended a number of manufacturers with interests before the CPSC, including cases involving toys with lead paint and ATVs linked to numerous rollover-related injuries and deaths.