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Congress adds $50 million for safety checks on toys, imports after USA TODAY exposed COVID-19 lapses

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Congress has set aside $50 million to protect Americans from dangerous and deadly products, bolstering a new mandate for stronger surveillance of the nation’s ports following a USA TODAY investigation that exposed major safety lapses during the pandemic.

The funds were embedded in the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill passed by Congress on Wednesday, which President Joe Biden is expected to sign. It is a significant cash infusion for the Consumer Product Safety Commission, with a $133 million annual budget to set and enforce safety standards for everything from cribs to lawn mowers. 

The legislation marks the second response by Congress to the agency’s decision — made in secret — to send home its port safety inspectors for nearly six months last year because of the threat of COVID-19. 

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