After a nearly nine month delay, the United States Senate earlier this week finally voted to confirm the nomination of Dana Baiocco to be a commissioner of the CPSC. With this vote, one of the strange aberrations of the Trump Administration ceases: the 3-1 Democratic majority that the Administration and the Senate has allowed for 18 months now comes to an end.
With Ms. Baiocco’s confirmation, the balance of power on the commission will be evenly split between commissioners from the two political parties. There is another open seat (which the Administration, inexplicably, does not seem in a hurry to fill) which, when filled, would give the current Chairman a 3-2 majority and allow her finally to begin implementing the regulatory priorities of the Administration.
But equally important, Ms. Baiocco’s confirmation brings fresh perspectives and new ideas to the agency, which sometimes has difficulty embracing different approaches to regulatory issues. Perhaps she will not accept the regulatory sluggishness that can come when the agency is challenged to rethink its approach to issues.
It is important that the Senate not think its work is done with respect to the CPSC. Pending before it is the nomination of Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle for permanent chair and another term. Chairman Buerkle has proved to be a reasonable, thoughtful and steady leader of the agency and she deserves to be confirmed. And it is hoped that the Administration may, at some point soon, nominate another commissioner to the existing open seat, giving the Chairman a working majority. In the meantime, Ms. Baiocco is a very welcome addition to the commission.