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President Trump Nominates Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle as Permanent Chairman of the CPSC

Today, President Donald Trump officially announced his intent to nominate Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle to be the permanent Chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Her new seven year term will begin on October 27, 2018 when her first term is set to expire. If confirmed, she will become the permanent Chairman immediately and her new term will end in October 2025.

The official announcement is copied below and was released by the White House Office of the Press Secretary just a few hours ago.

In an earlier post discussing Buerkle’s elevation to Acting Chairman, we provided insight and reasoning for Chairman Buerkle’s selection as the permanent Chairman. Throughout the past six months while Buerkle’s name has been in consideration for the permanent Chairman position this sentiment has remained consistent within the regulated community.

We wrote:

“Chairman Buerkle’s name has been circulating for some time now as a potential candidate for the permanent Chairman of the CPSC given her extensive experience inside the agency (and as a member of Congress) as well as the significant amount of proactive outreach she has done with agency stakeholders during her term as a Commissioner. Given the fact that a new Chairman from outside of the current Commission could not join the agency until late October at the earliest, it has also been pointed out that President Trump’s nomination of Buerkle as the permanent Chairman will allow for earlier hiring for key staff positions and the advancement and framing of her priorities as the Republican Chairman that can then be more quickly implemented once a third Republican Commissioner joins the agency.”

After the election of President Trump, the Commissioners unanimously voted to install Chairman Buerkle as the Vice Chairman of the agency, setting the stage for her ascension to become the Acting Chairman after the change in administration. Chairman Buerkle assumed the post of Acting Chairman on February 9, 2017, after President Trump removed former Chairman Elliot Kaye from his position.

Though Commissioner Kaye is no longer the Chairman of the agency he remains a Commissioner because his term as a Commissioner is a fixed seven year term that runs independent of the Presidency. Because of the independent nature of the Commissioners’ terms the CPSC is the only part of the Executive Branch that, to our knowledge, remains under Democratic control with three Democratic and two Republican Commissioners.

It is widely believed that the administration is actively searching for a Republican CPSC Commissioner candidate to replace Democratic Commissioner Marti Robinson, whose term expires near the end of October 2017. If a Republican Commissioner is not confirmed prior to the expiration of Commissioner Robinson’s term, her tenure will extend up to one year and the Commission will remain under Democratic control until such time as a new Republican Commissioner is confirmed.

Before joining the CPSC, Chairman Buerkle served in the House of Representatives for New York’s 25th Congressional District. During her Congressional tenure, she was appointed to serve as a United States Representative to the 66th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations from 2011 to 2012. Prior to her Congressional career, Chairman Buerkle was an Assistant Attorney General for the State of New York.

All of us at Mintz Levin congratulate Chairman Buerkle and wish her a speedy confirmation.

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