Republican pedantry costs motorcycle industry $1 billion

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GOP_elephants.jpgWant to know why kid’s motorcycles and ATVs haven’t been granted an exemption from the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act? There’s one reason: Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairperson Nancy Nord, a Republican Bush Appointee.
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According to Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), one of the chief proponents of
the bill, Congress never intended for CPSIA– a knee-jerk law intended
to stop the sale of lead-heavy toys from China — to ban items like
motorcycles, ATVs and handmade crafts from places like Etsy. Instead,
it intended for the CPSC to grant common sense exclusions for items
that clearly didn’t carry a risk of ingestion. But the CPSC isn’t
granting those exclusions. Why? Because Nord has decided to interpret
the bill’s language in an extremely pedantic way, thereby forcing any
changes to take place by having a further bill passed by Congress, an
incredibly complicated and laborious process.

Nord is using the following to passages from the bill to justify her obtuseness:

“Absorption of any lead into the human body….”
“Nor have any other adverse impact on public health and safety”

It’s the “anys” that are causing the problem. No matter the level of
lead content (the bill elsewhere makes reference to 660ppm), a part
that contains even faint traces of lead can potentially transfer it to
the human body through direct contact. It doesn’t matter if the amount
of lead transferred is less than that absorbed by drinking a glass of
clean tap water or taking a breath of air, Nord is interpreting “any”
as literally that. Any. She’d ban air and water if she had the power.
And sincee absorbing any lead can be considered to have an adverse
impact on health, even if that impact is so minute it’s scarcely
quantifiable, Nord is refusing to budge.

This has exasperated the motorcycle industry and Congress alike,
forcing the industry to lobby Congress for a new bill, a move Congress
never intended and which is likely to be time consuming and
problematic. The Motorcycle Industry Council estimates that the ban
will cost the industry $1 billion in lost revenue during 2009.

Democrats in Congress are now calling for President Obama to replace
Nord with someone who will interpret and enforce CPSIA in the common
sense manner that they intended.

Want to do something about this? Click here to visit the MIC’s site to make your voice heard.

CPSC via Dealer News 

  • Swagger

    How do these douchebag politicians keep their jobs?

    • http://matthewabate.wordpress.com Matthew

      She’s not a politician. She’s an appointee, which is worse because they are not accountable to the citizenry, only the person that appointed them is and he’s gone.

  • DoctorNine

    Please tell me that Obama can fire this person.
    Time for The One to use his Executive function to execute someone.

  • uberbox

    They keep their jobs because we keep electing them. Both parties seem to contain an inordinate number of morons who don’t take time to think about the far reaching impact of their actions.

  • http://artistruth.livejournal.com Will

    Thank you very much, Republicans! Our voice for choice!

    Here is a dime, Republicans. Buy yourself a screw and pat yourself on the back!

  • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

    Sadly, it goes both ways. In Nord’s defense, she well knows (under the assumption she has a brain capable of logical deduction and a smidge of game theory) that even the slightest misshap of lead contamination via a rule of leniency on her part or that of her staff’s would lead to devastating political and legal repercution against her office. In my best guess she views her role rigidly as thus- not the job of interpretation but of enforcement.

    Oh bureaucracy…

  • http://www.sideburnmagazine.com Ben Part

    time to load your breach with a high lead content dumb-dumb bullet I say

  • http://southernhonda.com Anthony

    Yeah yeah, Republicans are evil.

    I teach a film class one night a week at the local university, and my (mainly sophomore) students don’t get away with using blanket terms like “any,” “always,” “never.”

    To accuse one party of illogical determination while excusing the other of something as fundamental as clear legislative writing just continues to stir the poisoned pot of our failed political stew.

    I recommend everyone reads this forum post from Princeton professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell. It’s certainly predicted by a liberal mindset, but dispenses with illusions of the supposed sanctity of one party or politician over another.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes

      Just to be clear, I think that the two party system is inherently flawed and feel little affinity for any of the chuckleheads who reach national-level elected or appointed positions.

      But, in this case, it does seem like one woman, acting out of political malice, is unnecessarily harming not only the motorcycle industry, but also the economy at large.

  • Unruly Human

    Laws are supposed to be interpreted according to the language used. Words mean things.

    When someone writes “Absorption of any lead into the human body….” that means what it says and doesn’t mean “interpret this to mean what we thought we wanted but were too stupid to write”.

    You don’t enforce laws based upon someone’s after the fact claimed intent. The people who wrote it realize now (after all the public outcry) that the law is stupid, but when you don’t like a law, you have to change it, not ignore it or claim that it means something else.

    The idiots here are the people who wrote it and endorsed it and pushed it through.

  • Core

    I think I may be switching to another party after hearing about something this stupid.

  • Zeitgeist

    What makes this really sad is yeasterday at shop while on first ride of spring here in MN was the guys trying to buy parts, and bits for their childs bikes and being told they cant. A couple of the smarter parts guys had made up lists of common crossover parts but most of the engine stuff was specfic. The shops are the ones suffering the most as they are the least able to absorb this mess. Where was the new AMA in all this? Maybe they were too busy counting money from racing sell off? I thought this was supposed to be the effort of a more focused group with out the distraction of racing? Now its poorly run racing, and missing a huge issue like this that affects the one area we as riders should be making sure can ride. New riders!

  • MarkF

    Nancy Nord isn’t the problem here. The problem lies exactly with the way the bill is described:
    “a knee-jerk law intended to stop the sale of lead-heavy toys from China”
    While I disagree strongly with the bill, I appreciate the Nancy Nord is holding Congress to their words. If we let Congress pass the buck on to the implementer, and then play political games, we can expect more of this type of BS legislation in the future.
    Write your Congressperson and tell them to clean up their own mess.

  • Max

    I think it’s not just the Lead but anti-powersports sentiment that keeps this happening, there are many at the agency that actually are pleased that they got rid of a unsafe threat to children the ATV no matter how it happened.

  • http://ridethetorquecurve.blogspot.com hoyt

    Not Nancy’s fault? It’s the fault of the writers who wrote the bill?

    All of the above -

    Nancy is from MN, right? Polaris’ HQ is in MN, right?

    If she had such a problem with the wording, then she and the AMA should have adjusted it before being so block-headed and having the bill passed as written.

    This screw up goes beyond the tangible cost to rectify the situation. Tally up the time needed for the political re-do, then add in the lost time that should have been spent on current topics; and the total costs become increasingly frustrating.

    • Unruly Human

      The Lead-Free Toys Act requires the CPSC to ban children’s products containing more than a trace amount of lead.

      The CPSC does not make law, or “adjust” the wording of laws.

      Neither does the AMA.

      If she had such a problem with the wording, then she and the AMA should have adjusted it before being so block-headed and having the bill passed as written.

      I don’t know that she had a problem with the wording or that the AMA had no interest either. Do you?

      Legislators make legislation. BTW, there are two commissioners at the CPSC. The other is a Democrat. Did Nord act entirely on her own, ignoring the other commissioner on this?

      This is government stupidity at it’s finest, but to blame it on “Republican pedantry” is silly.

      • http://ridethetorquecurve.blogspot.com hoyt

        From the sounds of the post by HFL, she focused on the word “any”, so there appears to be a problem with the wording and lack thereof to not cause problems with “toys” such as youth atvs.

        I can care less about what side of the political line nancy is on.

        This is even more ludicrous when an affected OEM is located in her state.

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes

          This isn’t a philosophical argument about the interpretation of obscure language in complex laws or the appropriateness of appointed officials interpreting them. It’s a practical argument about one woman’s ability to grant an exemption that would help an ailing industry during a depression and her politically-motivated refusal to do so.

          • Unruly Human

            It’s a practical argument about one woman’s ability to grant an exemption that would help an ailing industry during a depression and her politically-motivated refusal to do so.

            This is not a depression.

            “Exclusion of Certain Materials or Products and Inaccessible Component Parts-
            (1) CERTAIN PRODUCTS OR MATERIALS- The Commission may, by regulation, exclude a specific product or material from the prohibition in subsection (a) if the Commission, after notice and a hearing, determines on the basis of the best-available, objective, peer-reviewed, scientific evidence that lead in such product or material will neither–
            (A) result in the absorption of any lead into the human body, taking into account normal and reasonably foreseeable use and abuse of such product by a child, including swallowing, mouthing, breaking, or other children’s activities, and the aging of the product; nor
            (B) have any other adverse impact on public health or safety.”

            Nord can only grant exemptions if she has “best-available, objective, peer-reviewed, scientific evidence” that no lead could possibly be absorbed from that item.
            Nothing can pass that standard, thus no exemptions. The Law Of Unintended Consequences wins.

            Maybe, Wes, you could show her exactly where in the CPSIA it provides for the CPSC to grant exemptions to the motorcycle industry?

        • Unruly Human

          From the sounds of the post by HFL, she focused on the word “any”, so there appears to be a problem with the wording and lack thereof to not cause problems with “toys” such as youth atvs.

          She wouldn’t have focused on it if a democrat hadn’t put it in there. To fix a problem you need to first understand what the problem is.

          What’s really “ludicrous” is the dem’s argument for getting rid of her was the usual “what’s really going on here is the Bush Administration protecting big business at the expense of consumers” blah blah blah.
          Now they’re crying’ that she’s protecting consumers at the expense of big business.

  • http://www.speedymoto.com Christian

    So I walked into my local FEED store yesterday to get some things and there in front of the store where some no name Asian 50cc kids dirt bike for sale.

    Once inside the store I found the rack of cheep Asian made kids helmets and gear next to the sheep feed.

    I have seen several examples of this going on throughout Portland.

    I guess the worst part of this, not only are the shops who should be selling and have always supported kids bikes, parts and gear…can’t sell! The places that bought a container of cheep crap and have no intentions of supporting the product or the consumer…still get to?!

  • Shrike

    This ridiculous knee jerk legislating goes beyond the motorcycle industry. One of my businesses is the importing of gourmet coffee from South America and we are currently fighting to stop them from hitting us with a new law aimed at keeping the china/food additives debacle from happening again. This new law would require all imported food businesses from not only investing in new packaging and testing to outline what ingredients are used but will also be limited to entering the US through ports that have an FDA testing lab in the same city. There are only 3 such ports and this would almost double my freight charges… Here is the point. Green coffee beans have only one ingredient. COFFEE!!!! But they are forcing us to adhere to the same obtuse guidelines as the other products. Anyone see a pattern?

  • Cal Harling

    Your post is blatantly false. All of the sponsors of this bill are Democrats. Waxman and Dingell were two of the more influential House sponsors. Barack Obama, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer were Senate supporters. The opposition to the bill was Republican led, Jim Demint of South Carolina, leading the effort. Nancy Nord specifically opposed the bill as unpractical (http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/running_small_business/archives/2009/01/regulator_warne.html)

    Most of the legal commentary that I have read agrees that the CPSC cannot legally interpret the bill as exempting motorcycles. Unruly Human has pretty much nailed it here. They are REQUIRED to uphold the law as written.

    I personally think that neither party cares one whit about what is good for the public at large, but to blame this fiasco on the Republicans is either stupid or dishonest.

  • http://www.sideburnmagazine.com Ben Part

    Lets say all the little people just carry on riding their 50cc pocket rockets through the undergrowth and across wilderness plains, how are the cops going to catch them? They will have to have a special midget-CHiPs task force.
    Sounds like a great weekend’s entertainment in it’s own right.

  • StillHateJJRedick

    I’ll apologize ahead of time for this not being specific to the topic…

    The problem isn’t with the Repubs or the Dems…Its with anyone that continues to vote for any attorney running for any office. We have enough law makers running this country – we need leaders that have had executive experience, made a payroll or two and actually have some experience doing something besides running for office. Have any of these F*$k@rs ever looked anyone in the face and said, “I’m sorry I have to lay you off because we don’t the money to pay you?”

    STOP ELECTING “ATTORNEYS” AND SOME, NOT ALL, OF THESE TYPES OF ASININE LAWS WOULDN’T SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY.

    NO MORE ATTORNEYS IN OFFICE, ANYWHERE!

  • Unruly Human

    All of the sponsors of this bill are Democrats. Waxman and Dingell were two of the more influential House sponsors. Barack Obama, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer were Senate supporters. The opposition to the bill was Republican led, Jim Demint of South Carolina, leading the effort. Nancy Nord specifically opposed the bill as unpractical….

    Maybe Karl Rove made ‘em do it….

    Most of the legal commentary that I have read agrees that the CPSC cannot legally interpret the bill as exempting motorcycles.

    Which is why the manufacturers folded their tents and walked away. They know that Nord is right.