The Senate has not gotten around yet to scheduling hearings on two nominees to the Consumer Product Safety Commission: Anne Graham and CPSC Chairman Terrence M. Scanlon.
The White House nominated Graham July 1 to the seat that Nancy Harvey Steorts had filled until last November. Graham, the assistant secretary of education for legislation and public affairs, is generally considered a deregulator, and is expected by observers to tip the balance of the agency in favor of Scanlon, who supports voluntary safety standards.
Scanlon, who has been serving under a recess appointment since December, is awaiting action on his formal nomination. But, according to a CPSC source, Sen. Robert W. Kasten Jr. (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee on the consumer, has refused to schedule hearings on the nominations because he is angry that the White House did not nominate Camille Haney, a Milwaukee businesswoman with a background in consumer affairs, for either vacancy. Kasten declined to comment.
The nominations come at a time when Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) has introduced a bill that would reduce the size of the commission from five members to three.
Under the legislation, if the commission has five members, two members would have to step down the next time their terms expire. With a full board, that would mean commissioners Carol G. Dawson and Stuart M. Statler, who have taken positions in support of more regulation, would leave the board when their terms expire. Some observers suggest that the White House may have moved to fill the vacancies so that the commission would not consist of its current three members if the Waxman bill became law.
So far, however, Waxman has been unable to muster a quorum for a markup session by the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health and the environment. In some cases, subcommittee Republicans have invoked procedural rules to keep the panel from meeting.
A subcomittee staffer said it is difficult to achieve a quorum because "this is one of the busiest subcommittees of one of the busiest committees, and many of its members have conflicting schedules at this time of year."
POISON PILLS . . . The CPSC has asked the Office of Management and Budget to let it conduct a $135,000 study of the circumstances under which children take prescription drugs accidentally. Pete Brathwaite, special assistant to the CPSC chairman, said a CPSC study in Birmingham, Ala., found that a third of all children under five who had swallowed drugs accidentally had taken their grandparents' medicines. "We want to see if we get similar results nationwide," Brathwaite said.
After it completes the survey, the CPSC wants to develop a poison prevention program aimed at those whose medicines pose the greatest risks to children.
PRIORITIES . . . As part of its budget planning, the CPSC this week decided to make all-terrain vehicles and riding mowers its priority safety issues for fiscal 1987. Scanlon said the agency will evaluate a voluntary safety standard being developed by the riding mower industry; an estimated 100 deaths and 50,000 injuries a year are linked to the mowers.
Meanwhile, the commission will hold its third public hearing on the dangers of all-terrain vehicles next week in Concord, N.H. -- Sari Horwitz