December 9, 2010
On Dec. 9, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 214-193 against the Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act of 2010. Because the measure was taken up by the House as a “suspension” — a legislative mechanism requiring a two-thirds majority — it did not pass.
“I am deeply disappointed that the House of Representatives today failed to pass the Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act of 2010 under suspension of the rules,” Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said in a press release. “This common sense legislation, championed by Chairman George Miller of the Education and Labor Committee, would be an important step forward in strengthening safety laws for our nation’s miners.
“The measure would compel the worst of the worst in the mining industry to change how they treat their miners.
“Despite the outcome of today’s vote in the House, it is important to note that a majority of members showed they have run out of patience with those mine operators who refuse to take the safety and health of miners seriously.
“As this Congress winds down, the tremendous need for this legislation continues. Every day, the lives of miners are needlessly being put at risk. That should be unacceptable to every single member of Congress.
“All workers deserve to come home safe at the end of a shift. I urge every legislator to join the President and me in committing to bringing miners the safety reforms they deserve.”