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Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act of 2010

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 8, 2010
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. HARE. Mr. Speaker, today I rise in strong support of the Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act of 2010 and for the rights of workers all across this great Nation. I would like to begin by thanking Chairman George Miller and Chairwoman Woolsey for their tireless work on this bill.

As many of you know, I began my career on a factory floor and saw firsthand the inherent dangers that exist in a workplace. It is the dangerous working conditions I saw that continue to drive my commitment to making every workplace in America safe. Compromise is inevitable in Washington, D.C., but keeping our workers safe, healthy, and alive is nonnegotiable. I implore my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to remember that.

It is clear that we can no longer rely on a system of fines and citations to protect our miners. MSHA must have the ability to swiftly shut down unsafe mines in order to save lives. We must end the corporate culture of ``profit at all costs'' that treats workplace safety upgrades as a budget line item rather than a moral and legal priority.

Today, my colleagues, we have the opportunity to stand up and defend the rights and lives of countless American workers, and I ask you to join me in this great but never-ending fight. The bill before us today will overhaul the very system that has failed to provide adequate protections for our mine workers, each and every day, and I say, enough is enough. This bill puts forth commonsense reforms that are long overdue. It holds irresponsible mine operators accountable.

One of the most unforgettable and heartbreaking moments of my congressional career occurred at the Education and Labor Committee hearing on mine safety. During that hearing, a young boy whose father had perished in the Crandall Canyon Mine disaster came up to me and asked me if I could attend one of his soccer games because ``his daddy was in heaven and couldn't go.''

It is for the families like this that we need to put partisan politics aside and pass this critical legislation. Every worker deserves to come home safely at the end of the day, and this bill will go to great lengths to ensure that this is the reality for all of our Nation's mine workers.

I ask my colleagues to join me in standing up for all American workers and supporting this critical legislation.