Assistant Secretary David Michaels, Ph.D., MPH, who is the leader of OSHA, is shown in a GWU photo

Fireworks in October? Michaels Nomination Hearing Wednesday

Surprisingly, the nomination of Dr. David Michaels to head OSHA is among 11 listed on the agenda of an Oct. 21 hearing by the U.S. Senate HELP Committee. A few days ago, a press officer for Chairman Tom Harkin said she had no idea when the panel would consider Michaels' nomination.

The blogosphere is divided, naturally, about President Obama's nomination of epidemiologist David Michaels, Ph.D., to be OSHA assistant secretary. As recently as a few days ago, a press person working for U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa and chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, said she had no idea when HELP would conduct a hearing on Michaels' nomination because the health care debate had overtaken nearly all other issues. Yet his is one of 11 nominations now listed on the agenda of an Oct. 21 hearing by the committee that is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. EDT.

Letters supporting Michaels have been sent by Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association; Albert Teich, director of Science & Policy Programs for the American Association for the Advancement of Science; Dr. Pamela Hymel, president of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine; John Hallagan, general counsel of the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association of the United States; and the American Society of Safety Engineers. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has expressed concern about Michaels, and some bloggers contend he'll try to restrict individual gun rights if confirmed.

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis swore in a raft of assistant secretaries Oct. 9, including Phyllis Borzi at the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA); Ray Jefferson at the Veterans Employment & Training Service (VETS); Michael Kerr at the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration & Management (OASAM); Kathleen Martinez at the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP); and Jane Oates at the Employment & Training Administration (ETA). Michaels could join that list soon.

Letters of support for Michaels have been posted here by The Pump Handle. One of the blogs opposing him is here.

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