Now that they've voted to defund Planned Parenthood and NPR, an "emboldened" Republican House majority has embarked on another sleazy mission: Relax new safety regulations aimed at protecting children. The New York Times reports that the manufacturers of children's products are fighting the creation of a public database that would allow people to search through injury reports for items like strollers and cribs. They're also against new regulations requiring third-party testing of the lead content in products used by children.
Now Republicans in the House of Representative are taking up their cause. Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas has already blocked financing for the consumer products database, which was set to go live in three weeks, saying the project needs to be modified to protect manufacturers from bogus complaints.
According to Rick Locker, a lawyer who represents many of the manufacturing groups, they support the concepts behind the law, but disagree with "the language Congress chose to implement the concepts." Under the current law all items used by children, even books and bicycles, must be tested for lead. Locker says it makes more sense to limit lead testing to items that kids are likely to ingest. (Kids ingesting bicycle parts may sound unlikely, but we're confident that they'd find a way.) There are also some who say third-party lead testing is too expensive and should be eliminated altogether, even in light of millions of toys being recalled in 2007 due to lead paint.
As with the Republican budget cuts, it seems unlikely that these efforts to relax child safety regulations will make it past the Senate. But at least now we know House Republicans are being consistent in their efforts to put their own interests ahead of the well-being of children.