The nation’s top official for consumer product safety has asked Congress in recent days to reject legislation intended to strengthen the agency, which polices thousands of consumer goods, from toys to tools.
On the eve of an important Senate committee meeting to consider the legislation, Nancy A. Nord, the acting chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, has asked lawmakers in two letters not to approve the bulk of legislation that would increase the agency’s authority, double its budget and sharply increase its dwindling staff.
Ms. Nord opposes provisions that would increase the maximum penalties for safety violations and make it easier for the government to make public reports of faulty products, protect industry whistle-blowers and prosecute executives of companies that willfully violate laws.
The measure is an effort to buttress an agency that has been under siege because of a raft of tainted and dangerous products manufactured both domestically and abroad. In the last two months alone, more than 13 million toys have been recalled after tests indicated lead levels that sometimes reached almost 200 times the safety limit.
Ms. Nord’s opposition to important elements of the legislation is consistent with the broadly deregulatory approach of the Bush administration over the last seven years. In a variety of areas, from antitrust to trucking and worker safety, officials appointed by President Bush have sought to reduce the role of regulation and government in the marketplace.
Republicans are not interested in practicing good government. Their ideology precludes it, so rather than using the government to protect the interests of the people as it is supposed to do, they shut it down and attempt to undermine it at every point. Bush has filled our government with these kinds of ideological cronies such as Mrs. Nord who are looking out for the best interests of their former and probably future employers and not the interests of the people.
It is truly despicable.