Capitol Hill

Change in the making

The theme of President Obama's 2008 campaign was "change," and during the first year of his administration, Congress has translated that theme into two major domestic policy initiatives—overhauling the U.S.' health care system and instituting a cap-and-trade system based on the belief that greenhouse gas emissions are the principal cause of global warming.

Although health care and global warming issues are dominating the domestic policy stage in Washington, D.C., change also is under way at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that could lead to more regulations and increased enforcement activity for roofing contractors.

A controversial nominee

Obama has nominated David Michaels, a research professor and interim chair of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, as OSHA's assistant secretary of labor. Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Democrats would prefer to take Michaels' nomination directly to the Senate floor for a vote; however, he has what appears to be a controversial record, and many in the business community are demanding a traditional confirmation hearing be held.