Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) voiced their disappointment regarding partisan workplace safety reform legislation concepts announced by House and Senate Democrats today. Enzi, Ranking Member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Isakson, co-author of the MINER Act and the Committee’s Employment and Workplace Subcommittee Ranking Member, released the following statement:
“We are disappointed that the Democrats have chosen to move forward in partisan fashion on this important issue. In the wake of 29 tragic deaths at the Upper Big Branch underground coal mine in West Virginia, we should be coming together to find mine safety solutions that work, and keep miners working. That is exactly what we did in 2006 following the tragic accident at Sago. In fact, it was the late Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia who brought Democrats and Republicans together at the table. Instead of pursuing that productive approach, Democrats have chosen to introduce a sweeping piece of legislation that affects every business in this country and only amplifies the adversarial role of OSHA and MSHA, without increasing safety.
“Republicans on the HELP Committee stand ready to work with Democrats on new legislation targeted at reducing the high rate of fatal injuries among underground coal miners. Unfortunately, given this partisan starting place, it will be difficult to achieve the kind of consensus that we were able to reach with Senators Byrd, Rockefeller and Kennedy as we developed the MINER Act. Nevertheless, this issue is too important to both of us not to try and we will closely watch the House activity on this bill. Whether Republicans are included and minority ideas are incorporated as we move forward will be a clear demonstration of the Majority’s true intention of developing a bill that we can all support and that will make a difference in the name of safety.”
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