By Mike Lillis
Sponsored by Education and Labor Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.), the bill would make it easier for the nation's miners to complain about unsafe conditions; grant mine safety regulators subpoena power when conducting investigations; hike penalties for safety violations; and empower federal regulators to close unsafe mines more easily.
The proposal would also extend OSHA's worker safety protections to almost all other workplaces in the country — a provision leading Republicans to blast the bill for overreaching.
Education and Labor Republicans are also complaining about the timing of the July 13 hearing. They wonder why Miller would have scheduled it for the Tuesday following a week-long recess, when many lawmakers will still be traveling from their districts to Washington.