Senate Returns Buerkle and Baiocco Nominations to White House, While the Temporary 3-1 Democratic Majority on the Commission Continues

As previously reported here, Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle has been awaiting U.S. Senate confirmation as permanent Chairman of the CPSC, and Jones Day litigator Dana Baiocco has been awaiting confirmation as the replacement for Commissioner Marietta Robinson. However, a degree of uncertainty has now arisen because last week the Senate returned these nominations to President Trump.  

While ordinarily the Senate will hold over a pending nomination to the new Congress, such a nomination will be returned if a senator objects, which occurred with these nominations. (The Senate does not provide the identity of an objecting senator.)  Buerkle and Baiocco are not alone.  The Senate returned nearly 100 nominations spanning numerous agencies and departments, as well as judicial nominees. See the full list here.

The White House must now decide whether to re-nominate Buerkle and/or Baiocco or nominate new candidates. Most observers believe President Trump will likely re-nominate Buerkle and Baiocco. CPSC’s Director of Communications, Joe Martyak, has reportedly stated that “[t]he acting chairman looks forward to a quick completion of the process early in the new year.”          

The continuing delay in this process leaves the Commission with the temporary 3-1 Democratic majority that has existed since Commissioner Joe Mohorovic resigned in late October, 2017.  While President Trump is expected to nominate a replacement for Mohorovic in the near future, it appears that it will be at least a few months, if not longer, until all three of the President’s nominees will be confirmed, at which point the Commission will have a 3-2 GOP majority.

This blog was written by Dwight Stone at Miles & Stockbridge.

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