Protecting America's Workers Act (H.R. 2067) May Receive Hearing in the House

[tweetmeme]Massachusetts has certainly changed the political landscape.  The current healthcare bill(s), once seemingly on their way to being melded into one and then becoming law, are now on the their death-bed.  Revival is hopeful in democratic circles, but unlikely.  Such was the case for the Protecting America’s Workers Act (PAWA) or H.R. 2067.  But now according the latest “Happenings from the Hill” report from Aaron Trippler, Director of Government Affairs for the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA),  “talk has centered on whether or not they will omit the section to expand OSHA coverage to local and state government employees not currently covered by OSHA regulations.”  According to Trippler,  “AIHA supports this expansion, yet I’m not sure it will remain in the final bill.”

There is also talk of removing the section and introducing it as a separate measure where it might stand a better chance of passage.   Trippler goes on to says “there is also talk that a new PWAA might include several new sections, perhaps language to require employers have a written safety and health program.   This new development would be great move forward.  OSHA has recommended this since the 1980s, and companys and organizations that enjoy the benefits of a great safety program no doubt agree, that the decreased insurance premiums and other operating costs, along with the increase in productivity and employee morale are well worth the investment.  Oh and btw, it might just saves some lives along the way!

Trippler says he isn’t sure if this will happen but wouldn’t be surprised if the House scheduled hearings on this issue.   The bill was introduced in May 2009, so hey only 8 months to get a hearing?!   With the political landscape being changed dramatically with the election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts, democratic lawmakers may have to scale back their legislative agenda, and as Trippler put it, “the bottom line on this bill is the House just may decide to consider the measure because of a lack of movement on other major issues.”  Either way, it would be nice to at least see the bill receive a hearing.

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