NPR logo Obama Administration Backs Down From New Child-Labor Rules On Farms


Obama Administration Backs Down From New Child-Labor Rules On Farms

After tough criticism from Republicans, the Obama administration withdrew its proposal for new rules to limit child labor on farms.

The AP reports that yesterday, the Labor Department withdrew the proposed 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 statement, the Department of Labor made it clear 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."

Labor added that the administration will not pursue this rule for "the duration of the Obama administration."

As expected, the move was hailed by Republicans. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said it was "good" the administration 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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