In what can only be described as a shocking turn of events, CPSC Commissioner Robert Adler (Dem.) has been elected Vice-Chair of the Commission. This means he will become the Acting Chairman of the Commission when current Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle steps down at the end of September. Since Buerkle announced she was withdrawing her nomination to be Chairman and would leave the CPSC at the end of her term this year, many assumed that Commissioner Peter Feldman (Rep.) would assume the Acting Chair role, as Republicans had recently gained a majority for the first time in more than a decade.
The CPSC has gone through the ringer over the past few months, as multiple stories from the Washington Post have called into question whether the Commission, under Buerkle’s leadership, was too “business friendly.”
Buerkle, who voted for Adler, said in a statement that she supported the Democrat because he is the most senior and experienced commissioner. Feldman and the other Republican Commissioner, Dana Baiocco, both joined the Commission within the past 12 months.
Once Buerkle’s terms expires, the Commission will return to a 2-2 R/D split–as a result, it is unlikely that much will substantively change at the Commission while Adler is Acting Chairman. However, Adler is very outspoken with his positions, leaving the possibility that he will make the most of this window to reposition the Commission. Presumably, once the Trump Administration nominates a new commissioner to replace Buerkle, Feldman will be nominated to lead the Commission. But his confirmation as Chairman will remain uncertain–Ms. Buerkle was not able to attain confirmation despite being put up by the Trump Administration.