It seems that, despite a memorandum issued in early May by White House chief of staff Joshua B. Bolten, George W. Bush is trying to cram in as many as 20 “highly contentious” rules in his final weeks in office. According to Bolten, the memorandum states:
“Except in extraordinary circumstances, regulations to be finalized in this administration should be proposed no later than June 1, 2008, and final regulations should be issued no later than Nov. 1, 2008.”
But despite this, the Labor Department is trying to complete a new rule that President-Elect Barack Obama openly opposes. That rule would essentially make it more difficult for the government to protect workers who are exposed to toxic substances and hazardous chemicals on the job.
The rule is, of course, supported by business groups. According to the New York Times, the rule says that:
…in assessing the risk from a particular substance, federal agencies should gather and analyze “industry-by-industry evidence” of employees’ exposure to it during their working lives. The proposal would, in many cases, add a step to the lengthy process of developing standards to protect workers’ health.
Margaret M. Seminario, director of occupational safety and health for the A.F.L.-C.I.O., says:
“…the administration is rushing to lock in place requirements that would make it more difficult for the next administration to protect workers.”
According to Seminario, this proposal could add two years onto a process that normally takes about eight or more years. What that means essentially is that workers health and safety may be endangered that much longer possibly resulting in more illnesses and deaths.
Representative George Miller, a chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor, has added that the proposal would:
“…weaken future workplace safety regulations and slow their adoption.”
This is just one of many rules the Bush Administration is trying to push through before they leave office and turn the White House over to Mr. Obama. Others include permitting coal companies to dump rock and dirt from mining into streams and valleys, giving states the authority to charge higher co-payments for doctor’s visits, hospital care and prescription drugs provided to low-income people under Medicaid, and another to protect health care workers who refuse to perform abortions based on their moral and/or religious beliefs.
I’ll report on more of these as they arise. But take a look at what the current Administration is still doing in these last few weeks. It seems that despite the lowest approval ratings of any President ever, and a country whose citizens have given a “real” mandate to the President-elect to reverse the dangerous and damaging ways of the Bush Administration, President Bush still insists on forcing his will (and the will of the puppeteers behind him) on an America that has, in very large numbers, told him they NO LONGER WANT to live in a George Bush America. I guess he’ll go out as he came in: not as a bipartisan President with the interests of the American people at the forefront of his concerns, but as a selfishly misguided man who can’t admit or simply doesn’t realize how frighteningly wrong he’s been all along.