Senator Menendez is speaking to the Senate about an amendment to the Consumer Product Safety bill. He is proud of the work they have done that will now prohibit members of the CPSC from taking trips paid for by agencies they regulate ("toxic travel" as he later calls it!) In fact he goes to great lengths in this 5 1/2 minute speech last June to tie the problems we were supposedly having with all these toxic toys being recalled to the unethical behavior of members of the CPSC traveling on the dimes of business big wigs.
In fact, Senator Menendez brags about the fact that Congress has recently outlawed travel paid for by lobbyists, and obviously the CPSC should be held to that high standard as well. (I found it highly ironic that the Congress has only recently met this standard themselves, but they are "shocked" and "appalled" that the CPSC isn't already meeting this standard?!?
Senator Menendez of course has to point out the outstanding (as in high) "number of items that were recalled last year because they were deemed unsafe for American Consumers to use -- after they were placed in our stores, bought by our families and used by our children...And the most common victims of these regulatory failures were children..." And he went on to ominously announce that "this year is shaping up to be just as tragic...Isn't somebody supposed to be watching out to make sure doesn't happen?"..."But the CPSC is busy doing other things..."
As a mother of many children for many, many years, I found his comments to be insulting and demeaning, both to myself as a parent and to those in the CPSC who are being asked to do an impossible job. Do we require every toy to be sold in this country to be stamped with the approval of our government agencies to be able to determine its appropriateness for our children? Absolutely not! As a parent, I can handle that job just fine. I do not want my options in toys (let alone clothes, books, etc.) to be limited to the very small number of items that can make their way through whatever legislative tunnel the Congress can dream up!
The problems we are facing here are not due to toxic toys or toxic travel but to toxic legislators! I would like to see our Congressmen reread their pocket Constitutions, and go back to passing laws on the very limited number of things they are supposed to be legislating!