Labor Secretary Speaks About Passage of House Bill

June 16, 2000
The House narrowly passed Wednesday the Labor, Health and Human\r\nServices, and Education Appropriations Bill, cutting more than $1.7 billion from the plan to keep Americans working and safe on the job.

The House narrowly passed Wednesday the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill.

In response to the decision, Secretary of Labor Alexis M. Herman said the House has "reversed the course of our success by voting to cut more than $1.7 billion" from the plan to keep working Americans safe.

The full House voted 220 to 203 last week to accept a rider on the bill that would block OSHA from spending money to promulgate its ergonomics rule.

"The House said no to an ergonomics standard that would protect millions of workers from debilitating injuries," said Herman.

Herman also noted that the bill passed in its current form prevents nearly 650,000 workers who would get skills training the help they need to find a job and prevents nearly 3,100 veterans from getting employment assistance.

She said she was especially disappointed by the continuing assault on the health and safety of working Americans.

"We know that we can prevent 300,000 repetitive motion injuries each year by simply finishing our work on the proposed ergonomics standard," said Herman. "The action to stop our work on a sensible and economical standard is wrong."

President Clinton has threatened to veto the House bill, which would grant no spending increases to OSHA and is $44 million under the president''s budget request for the agency.

"A bill that fails to provide key resources for education, child care, worker training and other priorities is unacceptable," said President Clinton. "If it were presented to me in its current form, I would veto it."

"The funding levels for vital worker programs must be restored and the prohibitions against moving forward on OSHA''s ergonomics rule must be deleted in any final action on the Labor/HHS/Education appropriations bill," commented Herman.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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