Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Thursday, October 27, 2016

Even in a matter of life or death, Republicans continue to refuse to rise above partisanship to work with the Obama administration. Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee have included language in the proposed 2013 budget to block the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) from using any funds to move forward with a plan that improves protection for miners from deadly black lung disease by implementing stricter regulations. Caused by exposure to excessive coal dust, the disease is untreatable and potentially crippling.

Congress has passed legislation aimed at eliminating black lung in the past; in 1969, a law requiring mine operators to take steps to limit exposure was implemented. While that effort accomplished its goal back then, it seems to be failing now, as scientists have found that black lung is on the rise once again:

Source: Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program (CWHSP), NIOSH
Credit: Alyson Hurt / NPR

Incidence of black lung has doubled in the last decade, and the disease is no longer confined to underground coal miners: Increasingly, it has spread to surface miners as well. But why has black lung once again become such an urgent issue? According to an  investigation by NPR and the Center for Public Integrity, “the system that is supposed to control miners’ exposure to coal dust and silica is plagued by loopholes in the law, weak enforcement, and cheating by some mining companies.” In 1998, a report by The Courier-Journal “found widespread fraud among coal operators who submitted false air samples to the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration.”

United Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts asserted that the Republicans’ budget measure “amounts to nothing more than a potential death sentence for thousands of American miners.”

How do the Republicans defend their stalling? “It is the chairman’s position and the position of the subcommittee that that particular regulation is harmful and costly to the industry and to the economy in general,” says Jennifer Hing, a spokeswoman for the House Appropriations Committee.

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2012 The National Memo
  • Regulation to help save the lives of workers. Seriously folks does anyone believe that the GOP is in anyway concerned about the health and welfare of the American worker? I would have been shocked if they had actually done something positive for the country. Shame on them and their ilk.

  • bcarreiro

    Thats there objective to block anyone, anything that comes in between a fool and his money. If it werent for the american people they would not have a job. PASSIVE AGGRESSIVENESS will eventually make them eat CROW!

  • JohnRNC

    Yet another example of the demise of the Labor movement. Truth is, if the existing regs were consistently enforced you wouldn’t be seeing a resurgence of this illness. But this is Big Energy we’re talking about and enforcement has been gradually eroding in the name of “jobs”, “the economy” and “balancing the budget”.

    • Gammaanya

      Because it is cheaper to replace them with even dumber ones that will die soon. It reminds me of old westerns where the landowners have his gunslingers fighting with the Marshall’s and sherifs and few good man, just to kill be killed for the landowner wealth and more land. They are dead and the landowner hire new ones and the cycle continues. Same today, they votes these people in on a promises they can not keep or deliver and then don’t blame anybody but look in the mirror. You can’t fix stupid.

  • howa4x

    I blame the blue collar workers for this. They constantly put in Republicans that chip away at worker protection laws and enviornmental protection, and try to break up unions. The republicans can alway count on them to vote against their own interests and the protection of their families and children, so they get what they voted for.

    • Gammaanya

      Right On. Now they probably carrying a banner, NO OBAMACARE. LOL

  • nomaster

    For the republicans only the wealth and well being of the coal companies is worth protecting. They couldn’t care less of the safety and protection of the miners doing their dirty work and making their millions for the coal companies. Had it not been for the Redneck union coal miners who became a union force and fought for their rights and safety, they would still be buried deep in the cold, dark mine hole without a care from anyone. My father died from black lung and no ever gave a darn.

    • DurdyDawg

      Well I give a darn.. But then, I’m not a Republicant (my condolences nomaster).

  • The republicans claim to care about the American people. This shows you who they really care about. The owners of the mines that is killing these miners.

    God save their dark souls.

  • The sad thing is that these guys(the miners)will overwhelming vote for the republicans.



    • DurdyDawg

      To the GOP, it’s their job to put their lives on the line as is their bad luck if they suffer from it. After all, they could have borrowed money from their parents, used it to go to college and instead of suffering from black coal disease, they could have stood back and watched others (who didn’t borrow from their parents to go to college) suffer from black coal disease, thus.. It’s THEIR fault!!

  • William Deutschlander

    You damn sure will not see Mitt Romney nor any of his DONORS anywhere near a coal mine!

  • The Repbs believe that you can clean coal. Don’t need regulations. The rich creat jobs. LOL still laughting.

  • The Republican Party has become the nazi party of America. They hate blacks, unions, Muslims, gays, etc. They are led by right radicals such as limbaugh, palin, and beck. They are controlled by the rich who want only to get richer at the expense of the middle class. Its time to rise up against these nazi pigs and take back America for the people.
    Any Republican earning under $300.000 a year must be really stupid to keep voting for republicans. The republicans want to cut social security, Medicare, the military, support for Veterans, money for jobs, unemployment, and any other benefit for Americans while they support rich bankers, rich oil companies, rich insurance companies, etc.. They want the rich to get richer at the expense of the middle class. The republicans supported tax breaks for all their rich buddies and screw the middle class citizen. Its OK for them to spend 8 trillion dollars on a war and triple the national debt but they don’t want to spend a dime on American citizens!!!!!