Elaine Chao Must Withdraw 'Secret Rule'

This morning, the Washington Post exposed the Bush administration's latest ploy that could radically change the way health and safety regulations are issued. This secret regulation is a clear attempt by the Bush administration and the business community to fundamentally weaken the scientific process for enacting new regulations that protect American workers.

Today, Senator Kennedy and I demanded that Labor Secretary Elaine Chao withdraw this rule immediately and turn over all communications with outside special interests and other documents relating to proposed rule. You can read the letter here.

As we state in our letter, it is disturbing that the Department of Labor is moving this proposal over the objections of career staff in the relevant health and safety agencies. Such career staff have the objective, technical expertise and experience to fully understand the proposal's implications for workers.

The Bush administration will stop at nothing to rush through a secret rule that will tie the hands of health and safety experts when responding to our nation's critical health and safety threats.

But, that's really no surprise at all. For nearly eight years, this administration has consistently failed to respond in a meaningful way to the real health and safety threats workers face while on the job. We've seen it when it comes to failing to protect workers who handle a dangerous artificial butter flavoring, ensuring that underground miners are sufficiently protected, and making sure construction workers are able to return home safe after their shift.