Secretary of Labor Acosta testifies tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10:00 AM about the President’s FY 2018 DOL budget proposal. I won’t be able to see it (poor planning), but maybe you can watch and let me know what happens. It should be interesting. The House, unlike the Senate, has not yet gotten a chance to question Acosta. He’ll have plenty to answer for aside from safety and health issues, with a proposed 21% cut in the the DOL budget. (And for a little insight into those other issues, check out Ben Penn and Chris Opfer at Bloomberg BNA.)
Workplace safety and health-wise, he will hopefully receive a grilling from Democratic members on his delay in enforcement of the silica standard, weakening the beryllium standard and delaying the electronic recordkeeping regulation. And I’m expecting he’ll get an earful about the Administration’s proposal to terminate the Susan Harwood Worker Training grant program. Congresspersons Rosa DeLauro (CT), Barbara Lee (CA) and Mark Pocan (WI) are three of the top champions of labor in the House and are never shy in hearings.
Meanwhile the Republicans (being Republicans), if they actually remember that OSHA exists, will most likely urge Acosta to embark on a cooperative approach to safety and health instead of the allegedly confrontational approach of the Obama administration. And they’ll congratulate him on rolling back those job-killing worker protections (see silica, beryllium and recordkeeping above) and abandoning David Michaels’ evil invention: the press release. Because the less anyone knows about workplace hazards, the better.
But if you’ve all been doing your homework and calling your Congresspersons, they should all be fired up with a profound understanding of the importance of these programs.