The Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from dangerous consumer products. Currently, the three-person commission has a vacancy. Media reports indicate that President Bush will likely fill the position with Michael Baroody, “executive vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers, a trade group that opposes aggressive product safety regulation” and “has called for weakening the Consumer Product Safety Commission.”
While at NAM, Baroody repeatedly lobbied for looser business regulations, at the expense of public safety:
— Asbestos Regulations: NAM opposes tougher rules regulating asbestos and in 2003, teamed up with the asbestos industry and spent $180,000 opposing asbestos reform legislation.
— Highway Safety: In 2000, NAM successfully killed a bill in the Senate that would have helped reduce safety risks to motorists by requiring tire manufacturers to report accident data and potential defects to the National Highway and Transportation Safety Board.
— Global Warming: NAM’s official position states that scientific data have “not confirmed evidence of global warming that can be attributed to human activities” and calls for “voluntary” measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It “opposes any federal or state government actions regarding climate change that could adversely affect the international competitiveness of the U.S. marketplace economy.” In 2001, Baroody wrote to Bush and personally thanked him for rejecting the Kyoto Protocol.
— Occupational Hazards: In 2001, NAM opposed the reduction of occupational hazards by attempting to kill the Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s ergonomics standard. In an attempt to mitigate the “unwarranted litigation” that NAM argued would result from the standard’s implementation, NAM filed suit in federal court.
Bush has repeatedly attempted to weaken regulations that protect the American public. He nominated Susan Dudley, who was formerly director of regulatory studies at the industry-backed Mercatus Center, to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which holds sway over federal regulatory agencies like the EPA. More recently, Bush issued a directive that would give the White House greater control over federal regulations.