CPSC Creeping Closer to a Democrat Majority

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With three nominations in the queue, the CPSC could be on the way to a Democrat majority. The Biden Administration recently completed its list of three nominees to serve as Chairman and Commissioners.  The list includes Alexander Hoehn-Saric as Chairman (currently Chief Counsel for Communications and Consumer Protection at the House Energy and Commerce Committee), Mary Boyle, (currently CPSC’s Executive Director, and Richard Trumka, Jr. (currently General Counsel and Staff Director at the House Oversight and Investigations Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy).

The CPSC currently has one vacant seat, but a second seat will open up this October, at the termination of Commissioner Elliot Kaye’s hold-over year. A third slot will then become available at the close of Acting Chairman Adler’s term.

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will need to hold one or more hearings to consider the three nominees before they can be confirmed. However, it is unlikely that one of those hearings will be held before the Senate’s August recess, making action on all three nominees likely for the fall.

If the nominations are confirmed, the CPSC will have a full slate of five Commissioners for the first time since 2019.  Currently split with two Democratic and two Republican Commissioners, the CPSC will have a 3-2 split between Democrats and Republicans if the nominees are approved.

Each of the three nominees has some experience on matters involving CPSC. Hoehn-Saric served as the Deputy General Counsel for the Department of Commerce after being senior counsel for the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Mary Boyle, current CPSC Executive Director, has over a decade of experience at CPSC in various positions, including working on policy, agency administration, product recalls, and civil penalty negotiations. Trumka Jr., son of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, has assisted the subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy investigate consumer safety issues relating to children’s booster seats, JUUL e-cigarettes, and talc baby powder.

Summer associate Elizabeth Hamner contributed to this post. Ms. Hamner is not a practicing attorney and is practicing under the supervision of principals of the firm who are members of the D.C. Bar.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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