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Commissioner Buerkle Delivers Keynote at ACI’s Consumer Products Regulation & Litigation Conference

June 17, 2014

I had the pleasure of joining Commissioner Robinson in delivering the keynote address at the American Conference Institute’s (ACI) 2nd Annual Consumer Products Regulation & Litigation Conference. The conference provided analysis, best practices, and guidance to in-house and outside counsel who represent members of the consumer products industry.

I shared with the group my unique perspective of formerly serving in the House of Representatives as well as my thoughts on the differences between being the Legislative Branch and the Executive Branch. There are specific differences when it comes to accountability and responsibilities.

Members of Congress are held accountable through the electoral process. Regulators, however, are not elected officials and therefore accountability is self-imposed through transparency of process and engagement with consumer and regulated communities.

When I was a Member of Congress I often said that Congress makes the laws and hands them off to the regulators to be implemented. It is important that the spirit of the law is not lost in that hand-off; rules should not circumvent legislation. CPSC needs to continue to work with Congress, and vice versa, to ensure that enforcement of the statute is consistent with the original intent; that we are truly achieving the mission of safety in an efficient and effective way. If we need additional authority to address unresolved issues or product safety concerns, we should go back to Congress

Although regulators are not elected, we still work for the American people. We are funded by and paid by tax dollars and we have an obligation to be good stewards of those dollars. That stewardship includes ensuring the rules we promulgate are reasonable and provide meaningful and thoughtful solutions to the issues we are addressing.

I also shared my thoughts on some of the major issues before the Commission including voluntary recall notice, 6(b), and test burden reduction.

I thank ACI for the opportunity to address their conference and look forward to continuing to build relationships with all stakeholders in the consumer safety community to ensure that CPSC is achieving its mission of safety in an effective, efficient, and balanced manner.

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