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Republicans’ Deadly Job Creation Plan

Republican bill blocks rule to cotrol combustible dust, the cause of the 2008 Imperial Sugar plant explsionh that killed 14 workers. Chemical Safety Board photo.

Republicans have a plan to create jobs and they’re going to stick by it whether it kills you or not. According to their logic (shared by Mitt Romney, BTW) excessive federal regulation—especially workplace safety rules—is a major reason why unemployment is staying so stubbornly high. 

The answer, according to House Republicans simple, just don’t allow any more regulations, from job safety to rules for big banks and public health. That’s the theory behind the bill (H.R. 4078) the House passed last week that would bar any new federal rule until the jobless rate drops below 6 percent. How brilliant is that?

The Republicans defeated an amendment to create an exemption for workers operating near high-voltage transmission and distribution lines and equipment. The amendment’s author Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.)  said it was morally indefensible:

to make workers wait for a full economic recovery before they get simple protections like rubber-insulated sleeves so that their arms aren't blown apart from having contact with high-voltage wires…35,000 degrees feels just as hot no matter how many Americans are out of work. Shock at 14,000 volts of electricity does the same damage whether unemployment is 8 percent or 6 percent.

Republicans defeated another amendment that would have allowed a long-overdue rule now in progress to control combustible dust— the cause of the 2008 Imperial Sugar plant explosion that killed 14 workers and other deadly blasts since—to move ahead.

AFL-CIO Health and Safety Director Peg Seminario, said the bill is part of the GOP's “extreme right-wing agenda [and] a cynical measure won't create any new jobs.”

Instead, it will put workers and the public in danger, stopping new safety rules to protect utility workers from electrocution and coal miners from black lung and rules to limit the power of big banks and corporations.

Rachel Weintraub, director of product safety and senior counsel of the Consumer Federation of America, said the rule would:

entirely thwart the ability of federal agencies to protect consumers from unsafe food, predatory financial products, systemically risky financial practices and dangerous consumer products.

Click here for more comments and here for a look at some of the specific rules that the bill would block.

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