The Handmade Toy Alliance (HTA) testified on April 29th at the House Energy and Commerce Sub-Committee hearing regarding the Consumer Product Safety Enhancement Act (CPSEA). HTA Founder and Vice President, Dan Marshall (Peapods Natural Toys -MN), Board member Jolie Fay (Skipping Hippos – OR) and Board member Randall Hertzler (euroSource – PA) traveled to DC to participate in this very important process.
“The HTA has endorsed the Consumer Product Safety Enhancement Act”, Marshall stated during his testimony before the Sub-Committee. “The provisions of the bill which allow alternative testing methods for small batch manufacturers are imperative to the survival of our members.” Marshall went on to share various aspects of report language that would further serve to clarify Congress’ intentions with the amendment.
In the few days since the hearing, however, Democrats and Republicans on the committee have signaled that they might not be willing to negotiate a bipartisan bill. “We strongly urge both sides to work through their differences and move forward on this important reform of the CPSIA,” said Jill Chuckas (Crafty Baby -CT), HTA Secretary. “The livelihoods of thousands of families hang in the balance.”
In addition to testimony from the HTA, the Sub-Committee heard from representatives from Goodwill Industries, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), American Apparel and Footwear (AAFA), Motorcycle Industries, Consumers Federation of America (CFA) and Rick Woldenberg (Chairman, Learning Resources).
Following opening statements, there was a question and answer period which focused around the difficulties of small batch manufacturers and specialty retailers to understand and comply with the CPSIA. “We were pleased to hear a series of questions surrounding harmonization with EN-71 which is of special concern to those in our membership who import product directly from the European Union,” stated Hertzler. “Dan (Marshall) had the opportunity to discuss this issue in depth.”
HTA Board members also had the opportunity to visit with many of the House Committee members, as well as a number of members of the Senate Commerce Committee. “It was an incredibly busy few days, squeezing in as many legislative visits as possible,” Fay shared. Marshall added “Our focus was to share the HTA story and collective concerns with a large number of Congressional members, furthering our efforts to provide relief to small batch manufacturers, crafters and specialty retailers. It has been clear from the beginning that we were not the intended targets of this legislation, but unfortunately, our members have the most to lose. It is time to remedy these unintended consequences of the CPSIA.”
The House Sub-committee will now decide whether or not to move forward with mark up and presentation of the Consumer Product Safety Enhancement Act (CPSEA), as the bill has been named, to the House floor. “Our focus now is to help this process proceed quickly,” Marshall continued. “It has been a very long road to common sense changes to the CPSIA. The Subcommittee members now need to openly discuss this bill, come to an agreement and move forward. The time for waiting is over. Congress needs to move swiftly to fix the issues with the CPSIA.”