What: All Issues : Labor Rights : Occupational Safety and Health : H.R. 2660. Fiscal 2004 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations/Vote to Protect the Health of Miners By Eliminating a Provision in Bill Which Would Allow Greater Concentrations of Cancerous Coal Dust in Mine Shafts. (2003 house Roll Call 349)
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H.R. 2660. Fiscal 2004 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations/Vote to Protect the Health of Miners By Eliminating a Provision in Bill Which Would Allow Greater Concentrations of Cancerous Coal Dust in Mine Shafts.
house Roll Call 349     Jul 10, 2003
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

In 1969, Congress passed important legislation to combat black lung disease acquired by coal miners by imposing tougher regulations on the amount of toxic coal dust that was allowed in the mine shafts. The 2004 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill, however, included a provision sponsored by the Bush Administration to mandate a fourfold increase in the amount of allowable dust in coal mines. During debate on the appropriations bill, Congressman Rahall (D-WV) proposed an amendment which would have prevented implementation of the administration's weaker coal dust standard. Progressives voted in favor of Rahall's amendment as a way to protect coal miners from black lung disease and other health risks borne from coal dust inhalation. During House debate on his amendment, Congressman Rahall presented data which showed that 55,000 miners had perished from black lung disease between 1969 and 1990 and that the disease has claimed an average of 1,400 lives each year from 1990 to 2003. Weakening the coal dust standard, Progressives argued, would cause even more black lung deaths in the future. Democrats voted unanimously in favor of Rahall's amendment but the measure was narrowly rejected on a 210-212 vote and the weaker coal dust standard remained intact.

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