Senator John Rockefeller displayed his ignorance of basic principles of American federalism with help from Republican Congressman Nick Rahall.
Sen. John Rockefeller, a Democrat, said he was drafting new federal legislation modeled after bills swiftly passed this week by the West Virginia state legislature. Rockefeller said the two fatal mining accidents in less than a month had “double driven home the urgency” for stricter federal laws.
The new federal legislation is “modeled after bills swiftly passed this week by the West Virginia state legislature.” So, why are the federal bills needed? Apparently the state most affected has already acted. Certainly there are other coal mining states, but the appropriate response seems to me to be to allow those states to look at the West Virginia bill and at all alternatives and decide what action, if any, to take. The case for federal legislation seems unclear and the fact that Rockefeller’s proposed legislation is based on laws already passed at the state level makes the issue even murkier.
As for Congressman Rahall, I guess it’s good at least to see a Republican learn how to pander to voters instead of always leaving that to the other side.