According to a news source, Representative Mike Pompeo (R-Kansas) successfully added a provision to a House spending bill that would stop the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) from launching a publicly accessible database on which product safety reports would be posted. Pompeo is apparently concerned about bogus complaints and lawsuits. “I’m an engineer,” he said. “I love data. But I know what people put online. I think this is a plaintiff’s bar dream.”
While is it not certain that the House bill will become law, given Democratic control of the Senate and opposition there to measures intended to scale back consumer protections, CPSC is clearly a target for business interests and Republicans. CPSC commissioners Anne Northup and Inez Tenenbaum also expressed opposing views on the safety database. Northup has urged Congress to prohibit the database’s March 11, 2011, launch “until the Commission’s regulations ensure that the information contained in a report of harm is verifiable, and the Commission has established an effective procedure for resolving a claim of material inaccuracy before a report of harm is put on the Database.”
Meanwhile, Tenenbaum has reportedly championed the database as an early warning system for consumers. “If a mom uses the search function on the site, sees a series of reports of harm about a product she bought for her child and decides to take the product away from her child, while, behind the scenes, we are working to finalize a recall—that is a good thing in my opinion,” she was quoted as saying. See The New York Times, February 21, 2011; The Washington Post, February 27, 2011.