It looks like Chairman Tom Harkin of the Senate Health, Labor, Education, and Pensions Committee is going to push through the controversial nominee to head the Occupational Safety and Health Administration without a hearing. The public — employers and employees alike — will have to be satisfied with David Michaels’ answers to written questions.
Accountability is the loser. Almost all nominees of all political and philosophical leanings regard the written questionnaires as an exercise in avoiding specific answers. So do the Senators. You don’t want to provide anything in writing that will be controversial or indicate a radical point of view that might alarm a Senator.
Occupational Health and Safety has the report, “HELP Committee Decides to Bypass Full Hearing for Potential OSHA Chief,” including an unpersuasive explanation from Harkin’s press secretary, Bergen Kenny:
“If we had a hearing on every single nominee, nothing would ever get done,” Kenny said. “We wouldn’t be able to fill all the positions that need to be filled.”
Funny, President Bush’s OSHA nominee went through a full confirmation hearing in January 2006.
Earlier posts on Michaels’ nomination.
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