Ergo showdown looms in Congress
The U.S. House of Representatives will also soon consider the resolution, marking the first time Congress has attempted to repeal a federal regulation using the Congressional Review Act.
Simple majorities are needed in both the House and Senate to forward the resolution on to the White House for signing by President Bush. Business groups pushing to kill the ergo rule and unions fighting to save it both predict close votes in the House and Senate. The Bush administration so far has not taken a public position on the standard.
If Congress votes to strike down the standard and the move is approved by President Bush, OSHA would be forced to start a new round of ergonomics standard-setting from scratch. Under the Congressional Review Act, an agency is prohibited from issuing another similar rule unless Congress gives special permission, according to the AFL-CIO. The union contends it would be “almost impossible” for OSHA ever to set a strong standard.
Meanwhile, 51 trade organizations, ranging from the National Christmas Tree Association to U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have signed off on a letter sent to all U.S. Senators urging them to “prevent OSHA from implementing this reckless regulation.” Unions are lobbying Congress and urging members to contact local reporters in a “Stop the Pain Campaign” aimed at protecting the rule.