Bipartisan chemical safety act should move forward

In July, I had the pleasure of testifying before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to add the Toy Industry Association’s voice to the bipartisan chorus that supports the Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013 (S.1009). The toy industry recognizes that parents are concerned about chemicals used in everyday products and supports efforts to enhance public confidence in the safety and management of chemicals and materials through the modernization of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). 

The late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) was a champion for TSCA reform since the 109th Congress. His final effort to amend this law was the groundbreaking compromise of the CSIA, introduced with Sen. David VitterDavid Bruce VitterPlanned Parenthood targets judicial nominee over abortion comments Trump nominates wife of ex-Louisiana senator to be federal judge Where is due process in all the sexual harassment allegations? MORE (R-La.) in May. 

The CSIA is in line with the toy industry’s long-standing commitment to safety. It is consistent with the strong and protective national toy safety requirements administered by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and other laws and standards. A similar approach is necessary for chemicals regulated under TSCA. The CSIA will restore trust in the regulation of chemicals by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This reform will also help everyone in the supply chain make smarter product development decisions via information from the screening of chemicals by the EPA. Uniform federal action is urgently needed to address differing state chemical regulations that result in a patchwork across the nation that hinders the ability of a company to bring a safe product to market in all 50 states.

We commend the 25 bipartisan co-sponsors of S.1009 for their interest in assuring that chemicals and products are safe. The toy industry shares this interest, and we urge the Senate to move promptly on this important policy initiative. 

Now is the time for Congress to honor Sen. Lautenberg’s commitment to this issue and act because without TSCA reform, the free flow of goods between states will be further impaired by conflicting state requirements and safety will not be improved. 

Washington, D.C. 


ObamaCare affects us all 

From Mark R. Heaton

ObamaCare is just the latest federal entitlement program that is on track to never be repealed once dependents start signing up for it next week (yes, next week!). The difference is that this entitlement program will impact healthcare for ALL of us, whether we sign up for the entitlement or not.

Employees at companies, including Home Depot, Walgreens, UPS, IBM and Time Warner have already been told that they will be forced to cut working hours, their jobs or family healthcare benefits directly due to increased costs and taxes from ObamaCare.

Our country is at a “Tiananmen Square” moment, and it’s time to stand firm and stare down the oncoming tank that is ObamaCare.   

Tulsa, Okla.


Give peace a chance 

From Maiya Zwerling, Middle East policy program assistant, Friends Committee on National Legislation

Thank you for your article, “US, Iran now inching toward dialogue” (Sept. 19) that highlights the openings for diplomacy between the U.S. and Iran. As the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen and other national security experts have argued, it is long past time for the U.S. and Iran to establish a channel for dialogue.

Since his election in June, President Hassan Rouhani has made many promising gestures that signal his readiness to open dialogue with the U.S., most recently with the release of 11 political prisoners Wednesday. In his Wednesday night interview on NBC, he strongly reaffirmed his commitment to never develop nuclear weapons and his commitment to peace: “We consider war a weakness. Any government or administration that decides to wage a war, we consider a weakness. And any government that decides on peace, we look on it with respect to peace.” 

It is disappointing to see Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamRepublicans divided over legislation protecting Mueller Rand Paul under pressure as Pompeo hunts for votes Dems walk tightrope on Pompeo nomination MORE (R-S.C.) write off these conciliatory statements, the release of 11 political prisoners and other promising developments. The United States, too, needs to show Iran respect for their commitment to conflict resolution.

As diplomatic openings emerge in Syria, Obama must bring Iran — arguably the country most able to influence Bashar Assad — into the discussion. To advance a political settlement that ends the killing in Syria, the world needs to work together with all parties involved in the conflict.

Washington, D.C.


GOP needs new tactics

From George Callaghan 

The Republicans seem to be approaching ObamaCare the same way over and over with the same results. Recently, we have seen union bosses come out against ObamaCare. Why haven’t some conservative Republicans contacted the union bosses and offered to sit down with them and see if they can come up with some mutual points and perhaps build a new healthcare plan? Think about the fear of the Democrats seeing Republicans and union bosses together on stage agreeing that ObamaCare must be repealed. They could create a new bill that appeals to Republicans and conservatives with some things that are attractive to the unions. The union bosses would be asked to “talk” to some of the Democratic House and Senate members to help them see it differently. If they can secure enough Democratic votes, the healthcare law could be repealed and — who knows — there might be enough votes even to override a veto.

As long as Republicans keep doing the same thing they should expect the same results.