While a certain amount of oversight is warranted to prevent the distribution of potentially harmful products, many in the toy industry feel they are unfairly targeted by an expanding bureaucracy and have felt excluded from the legislative process. The newest bipartisan congressional caucus hopes to alleviate some of those concerns.
In a press release posted on its website, the Toy Industry Association Inc., touts the development as a way to “engage lawmakers in a constructive dialogue about issues currently facing the U.S. toy industry and the important role that toy businesses have in the development and education of children around the world.”
Toy manufacturing and sales account for more than 300,000 U.S. jobs, 30 percent of which are provided through small businesses. TIA official Ed Desmond said he looks forward to strengthening that industry further through a partnership with the new caucus.
Desmond called the opportunity “a powerful forum to raise the level of awareness that federal government officials have about the toy industry, toy companies, and the work we do with children.”
Caucus co-chair Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said the “toy industry is under fire,” fueled by both regulatory mandates and trade restrictions.
TIA reports, which celebrate the toy industry’s self-imposed safety measures, note that federal regulators go too far in stifling creativity and productivity.
Blackburn cited an “inconsistency of policy” as one of the issues the caucus will address.
The toy industry, considering its size and influence, is a latecomer to the caucus world. While such congressional alliances are often criticized for misplaced priorities, there can be a great benefit in establishing a confederacy on Capitol Hill.
Assuming the caucus can abide by its founding principles, everyone from raw material suppliers to the consumer will benefit by reducing the federal government’s role in the toy or any other industry.