US Senate Confirms Assistant Secretary to Lead MSHA Jobs & HR

United States: US Senate confirms assistant secretary to lead MSHA

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The US Senate has confirmed Christopher Williamson as Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health. His confirmation was secured with seemingly little scrutiny from the Senate, which did not hold a public hearing on his nomination.

Williamson has no direct experience in the mining industry, but he served as counsel to the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission. He also worked for a time at the Obama administration’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) in an advisory role.

His most recent position was as senior counsel for the National Labor Relations Board. Previously, he served as Labor Advisor to the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and before that, as a Legislative Assistant to Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV).

Williamson graduated from West Virginia University College of Law in 2010, earned a master’s degree in public policy from American University in 2007, and earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science and economics from West Virginia University in 2005.

Williamson takes over as head of the MSHA at a time when the agency is recruiting staff and undergoing organizational change. The White House recently released 2023 fiscal year budget includes a request nearly $423.5 million for the MSHA. This is $40 million more than current funding (an increase of 11.5%), of which $33 million is for law enforcement activities. MSHA also has extensive rulemaking activity underway regarding mobile surface equipment safety and respirable silica.

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