More American youth under the age of 18 die in farming accidents each year than in all other occupations combined. Kids employed on farms also suffer a disproportionate number of work injuries. Yet following endless criticism from Republicans, the Obama White House has withdrawn proposals for new restrictions on child labor on family farms.
According to AP reports, the Labor Department withdrew rules “that would ban children younger than 16 from using most power-driven farm equipment, including tractors. The rules also would prevent those younger than 18 from working in feed lots, grain bins and stockyards.”
In a Labor Department statement, officials claims that its decision to withdraw the rule was “made in response to thousands of comments expressing concerns about the effect of the proposed rules on small family-owned farms.” The press release added that the administration would not push for this rule for “the duration of the Obama administration.”
As expected, the move was cheered by Republicans. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa expressed satisfaction that the White House had “rethought the ridiculous regulations.”
“To even propose such regulations defies common sense, and shows a real lack of understanding as to how the family farm works,” Grassley said in a statement.
CBS News reports that child labor groups were “stunned” at the decision saying “children will die in farm accidents that could have been prevented.” CBS adds that the plan excluded children who worked on farms run by their families. But, in the end, critiques panning the rules as “heavy-handed regulation” won out.
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