Today, Chairman John Kline issued a press release that promoted actions taken by the Republican majority on the Education and the Workforce Committee … but also included some swipes at the Democrats on the committee :
“Working families are hurting in the Obama economy,” said Chairman Kline. “Rather than work with us to change direction, Democrats are trying frantically to change the subject. Today’s antics are further proof that Democrats have different priorities than working families. More rules, mandates, and regulations will not provide the jobs and opportunity struggling families desperately need.”
The “antics” that Chairman Kline referred to was that Democrats sought consideration of H.R. 1373: Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act of 2013 which is a response to weaknesses in the Mine Act that were uncovered during the investigation of the Upper Big Branch mine explosion, the deadliest U.S. coal mine disaster in nearly 40 years.
Despite recommendations from the West Virginia governor’s independent investigation panel and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), as well as six separate reports calling for reforms, Republicans contended that the mine safety bill was politically motivated and unnecessary.
“What we learned today is that the blood of the 29 miners who died at Upper Big Branch four years ago was shed in vain, and that congressional actions needed to prevent a similar disaster in the future will not be taken any time soon,” said Representative George Miller, senior Democrat on the Education and the Workforce Committee. “I’m beside myself with outrage, and share the local families’ worry that ruthless mine operators who put profits ahead of safety will continue to exploit the well -documented loopholes in the law over and over again, no matter how many miners die.”
While rejecting the mine safety proposal, Chairman Kline said: “This amendment reflects the same flawed belief that simply passing more legislation will protect miners. We believe a better approach is to build on the progress we’ve made through responsible and aggressive oversight, and that’s precisely what this committee will do.”
“Instead of focusing on anti-worker bills, this committee should be considering legislation that makes a real difference in peoples’ lives—legislation that creates jobs, safeguards Americans from discrimination, protects workers’ health and safety, and helps millions receive a fair wage,” said Representative Miller. “Committee Democrats are fighting to put this committee—and the country—back on the right track by moving legislation that benefits millions of working Americans to the House floor for a vote. But once again, Republicans proved that they are more interested in stripping workers of their rights than they are in supporting families and growing our economy. They voted to block every attempt to take up these popular, bipartisan measures.”
Yes, my friends, to say that John Kline is anti-union is an understatement … John Kline is anti-worker otherwise he would not be protesting that healthcare aides be entitled to overtime.
Overtime is one thing … but worker safety is another.
And there is a reason why he is referred to as John “Coal Man” Kline … because mining means money … campaign donations.
In the Fourth Quarter, Chairman Kline’s FEC filings indicate contributions from companies dependent upon the mining industry :
American Coal Company ($250 from Mr. Daniel Couch; $500 from Daryl Tolbert; $800 from J. Nelson Wood)
American Energy Corp ($250 from Kevin R Hughes; $500 from Ronald O. Van Horne)
Boich Companies ($5200 from Ms. Cynthia Boich; $5200 from Ms. Emeline I. Boich; $5200 from Mr. Wayne Boich)
Global Mine Service Inc ($1000 from Timothy Smith)
Jennmar Corp ($2500 from Frank Calandra, Jr; $1000 from Mr. Karl Anthony Calandra; $500 from Mr. Michael F Calandra; $500 from Mr. John Rodney Poland; $1000 from John Stankus; $1500 from Mr. Daniel C Statler)
Missco Inc ($900 from Lewis Nicholson)
Murray Energy Corporation ($2400 from Robert Moore; $2600 from Robert Murray; $250 from Andrew W Cox; $800 from Scott Haney)
Ohio Valley Coal Company ($700 from Michael Loiacono; $250 from Ernest Martin)
Special Mine Services ($300 from Steve Simmons)
UtahAmerican Energy Inc ($400 from Darrell Leonard)
Koch Industries Inc. PAC ($2500)
Murray Energy PAC ($5000)
And what do the workers have to say ?
“I’m a coal miner. I’ve been a coal miner almost 34 years,” Clay Mullins, whose 53-year-old brother, Rex, died at Upper Big Branch, said June 7, 2012 at the Capitol. “We know right from wrong in coal mining. The employers know right from wrong. But they chose to do the wrong thing … and not provide these men with a safe workplace. It all comes down to greed, putting production above human life. That shouldn’t be tolerated in this country.”
So the question for Chairman Kline is :
What good are these jobs if they’re at the expense of our health ?
The answer should not be portrayed as a Democrat versus Republican debate … it should not be “Coal Man” versus workers … but the “Coal Man” objects when other Representatives try to force you to address an issue that you have ignored … and your response is to call these actions “antics” ? After almost four years of inaction, Chairman Kline rejects Democrat measures as “antics” … how long should workers wait ?
The only antics are the Obstructionist ways of Chairman John Kline.
And Chairman Kline wants those antics to continue (as well as the campaign cash) by asking for a waiver from House rules so that he can remain as Chairman next term.